Oh, Ricky Gervais. Why does it not surprise us in the least that you are once again speaking up on behalf of animals? This time, the comic, producer, and long-time animal advocate has teamed up with other top English comedians including Paul O’Grady, Sue Perkins, Harry Hill and Tracey Ullman in support of the #NotFunny campaign from Battersea Dogs and Cats Homes, which is one of the UK’s oldest animal rescue centers, that aims to increase the current six-month maximum jail sentence to five years behind bars.
With England and Wales having the lowest maximum sentences for animal cruelty in Europe, the comedians are joining forces with the organization to call for stricter punishment. The comics don’t think animal cruelty is funny in the least and they are urging their fans to put pressure on authorities to update outdated punishments so that they are in line with other European countries.
“It’s sickening to hear about innocent dogs and cats enduring terrible suffering at the hands of humans and knowing the law does nothing to protect them, or deter people from committing these acts of cruelty. Six months in prison is nowhere near long enough for people who choose to abuse, torture and kill animals. You could get more for fly-tipping,” said Gervais.
A fly-tipper (someone who illegally dumps waste) in Devon received a 20-months sentence, while a Wirral man who admitted he stabbed and burned a dog alive was jailed for only 24 weeks. Paul, Ricky, Sue, Harry, and Tracey are the faces of the campaign and fans will see posters featuring their images on billboards, posters, and digital screens at more than 170 locations across the UK and London’s transport network as well as social media.
By enacting strict punishment against animal abuse and tracking and sentencing it accordingly, we can protect both helpless animals and other people, considering animal abuse is strongly linked with other forms of abuse, such as domestic violence and child abuse. One study found that animal abuse occurred in 88 percent of homes where child abuse had been discovered. Another study found that up to 83 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abusers also abuse the family pet. In fact, animal abusers are five times more likely to abuse people.
Pets, wildlife, and other animals cannot speak up for themselves when they are being hurt and therefore rely on help from compassionate citizens like you. Animals, like people, do not deserve to suffer at the hands of an abuser, so if you see or hear something, it is up to you to do something. Animal cruelty crimes tend to go underreported, so it’s important to be able to identify the signs of animal abuse and neglect.
If we consider the harm done to animals as equal to the harm done to members of our own species, we can begin to change cultural perceptions of animals and one day upgrade their status as “property” to that of individuals in their own right.
Thank you, Ricky Gervais, for always speaking up for those who cannot! Be sure to share this post with your friends and family to help spread awareness about how animal abuse is #NotFunny.
Image source: Battersea Dogs and Cats Home