With the holidays right around the corner, it’s probably safe to assume that you’ve already written out your lengthy Christmas wish list and hand-delivered it to your parents, right? Well, I’m about to let you in on a little-known secret: Humans aren’t the only ones who want something this Christmas.
Yep, you heard me, but don’t let me steal the spotlight. Here are 11 animals who really just want to tell you themselves:
You wouldn’t want to live your entire life at the end of a chain, and neither do your animal companions. Chained dogs are often deprived of adequate care and shelter and left to suffer through extreme heat or freezing winter nights when all they want are scratches behind their ears, walks around the block, and the opportunity to curl up at their guardians’ feet at night—indoors.
Whether they are feral (not socialized and terribly afraid of people) or not, outdoor cats are still domesticated animals and aren’t equipped to survive without us. Although it may look like these cats are holding their own out there—they’re not.
Like humans, cows produce milk only when they’re pregnant or nursing. In order to keep the milk constantly flowing, farmers repeatedly impregnate them. Male calves—”byproducts” of the dairy industry—are generally taken from their mothers when they are less than 1 day old. Frightened, sick, and alone, these babies are killed after only a few months of life so that their flesh can be sold as veal.
Almost all the millions of pigs killed for food in the U.S. every year are raised on extremely crowded, filthy factory farms. These intelligent, social animals are deprived of natural sunlight and the opportunity to feel grass beneath their feet, until the day when they are shoved and prodded onto a truck bound for the slaughterhouse.
Chickens are the most abused animal on the planet. In the United States, more than 7 billion chickens are killed for their flesh each year, and 452 million hens are used for their eggs. Ninety-nine percent of these animals spend their lives in total confinement—from the moment they hatch until the day they are killed.
Forcing horses to pull oversized loads isn’t romantic—it’s cruel. Horses are forced haul humans in all weather extremes, dodge traffic, and pound the pavement all day long. These gentle animals suffer from respiratory ailments because they breathe in exhaust fumes, and they develop debilitating leg problems from walking on hard surfaces. In some cases, horses have even dropped dead from heatstroke after working in scorching summer heat and humidity.
SeaWorld enslaves and confines whales, dolphins, and other animals to pitifully small tanks at marine parks around the country, where they’re denied everything that’s natural and important to them and are forced to perform unnecessary tricks for “entertainment.”
Mice and rats are highly social animals. They become attached to each other, love their own families, and have excellent memories. Yet more than 100 million of them are killed in U.S. laboratories every year in everything from painful burn experiments to horrific sex experiments. Because mice and rats are not protected by the law, experimenters don’t even have to provide them with pain relief.
Hunting might have been necessary for human survival in prehistoric times, but today, most hunters stalk and kill animals for the thrill of it, not because they have to for survival. This unnecessary, violent form of “entertainment” rips animal families apart and leaves countless animals orphaned or badly injured when hunters miss their targets.
To speak out against hunting in your area, post “no hunting” signs on your land, join or form an anti-hunting organization, protest organized hunts, and spread deer repellent or human hair (from barber shops) near hunting areas.
Undercover footage shot by PETA Asia found workers violently ripping the fur from angora rabbits’ sensitive skin as they screamed at the top of their lungs in pain—all just so the fur can be used to make sweaters and accessories at stores such as Gap.
Most elephants used by circuses were captured in the wild and forced to leave their freedom and families behind. In the Ringling Bros. circus, elephants are beaten, hit, poked, prodded, and jabbed with sharp hooks, sometimes until bloody.
What’s your Christmas wish for these—and all—animals? Let us know in the comments below!