Acute Toxicity Test
A test designed to determine toxic effects within a short period of time (ranging from a few hours to the course of a day) after administering a specific dose (amount) of a test substance in one or more species. This test used to define certain toxic thresholds including minimum lethal dose (MLD), and the LD 50, or lethal dose that will kill 50% of the animals exposed. Substances are administered by mouth ("gavage" or force-feeding), by nose (inhalation), or skin ("dermal"); or injection into the bloodstream ("intravenous"), the abdomen ("intra-peritoneal"), or the muscles ("intra-muscular").
Although the definition varies by state, generally, Animal cruelty occurs when someone intentionally injures or harms an animal or when a person willfully deprives an animal of food, water or necessary medical care.
Animal Hoarding or Collecting
Obsessive-compulsive disorder in which an individual keeps a large number of animals—sometimes more than 100—in his or her home, and neglects to care for the animals and the home environment; "collectors" are usually in extreme denial about the situation. Technically, hoarding can be considered a crime, as it is a form of neglect.
When scientists, students or commercial firms (e.g. cosmetic companies) use animals for biological research. These experiments aim to determine the safety and effectiveness of drugs, vaccines and products, researching how the human body works or fights disease or for educational purposes.
Animal Welfare Act
Passed into law in 1966, ensures that pets and animals used in research and for exhibition purposes are provided humane care and treatment. The act also assures the humane treatment of animals during transportation in commerce and outlaws the sale or use of stolen animals.
A wire cage less than 16 inches wide where four or five hens are kept their entire lives—very tight quarters. These cages are lined up in rows and stacked several levels high on factory farms. It's been outlawed by the EU, but it's still allowed in the US.
The burning of a mark onto cattle or pigs using an extremely hot iron stamp, or “brand,” pressed hard into the animal’s flesh for several seconds without any pain killers.
Dogs that are kept in cages and are bred over and over again for years, without human companionship. They usually get very little health care and get no comfort. Once they can't breed anymore, they are often killed, abandoned or sold.
Chickens raised to be eaten on factory farms.
A tool used to train and manage elephants. According to accounts by several former Ringling Bros. employees and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), elephants that perform in Ringling Bros. circuses are repeatedly beaten with sharp bull hooks.
An event performed in Spain, Portugal, and parts of Latin America where a fighting bull is engaged in a series of tricks and maneuvers. Usually, the bullfighter kills the bull with a sword. Bullfighting is banned in many places including some cities in Spain. Supporters of bullfighting argue that it is a culturally important tradition, while concerned with animal welfare argue that it is a blood sport because of the suffering of the bull and horses during the bullfight.
A practice in which hunters pay to shoot and kill exotic animals in a confined area from which they are unable to escape.
Charreadas (also Charrerias)
Rodeos popular in Mexico and the American Southwest which have components such as bull-tailing and horse-tripping which are considered by many to be forms of animal cruelty. Horse-tripping has been banned in California, Texas, New Mexico and Maine.
A blood sport in which two roosters specifically bred to fight are placed beak to beak in a small ring and encouraged to fight to the death as a spectacle.
A federal law that prohibits people from knowingly creating, selling or possessing depictions of animal cruelty with the intent to place them in interstate or foreign commerce for financial gain.
The cutting through bone, cartilage and soft tissue to remove the top half and the bottom third of a chicken’s, turkey’s or duck’s beak. It's usually done to stop the birds from pecking out feathers and engaging in cannibalism which happens in stressed, overcrowded birds in factory farms.
Surgically amputating part of the last bone in an animal's toes. The surgery is non-reversible, and the animal suffers significant pain during recovery. Declawing has been outlawed in many countries in Europe.
An illegal betting contest in which two dogs are placed in a pit to fight each until the last dog is standing.
Animals headed for slaughter who become too sick or injured to walk unassisted.
A test that is usually performed in rabbits to determine the ability of a chemical to irritate the skin and eye after an acute exposure. For the dermal irritation test, rabbits are prepared by removal of fur on the back by electric clipper. The test chemical is applied to the skin under four covered gauze patches. Occasionally, the test chemical may be applied to abraded skin. The degree of skin irritation is scored at various time intervals after the application. To determine the degree of eye irritation, the test chemical is instilled into one eye (usually 0.01 ml). The eye of the rabbit is then examined at various time intervals to score degree of irritation. Because of its controversial nature, the use of the Draize test in the U.S. and Europe has declined in recent years.
The cropping of a purebred dog's ears to conform to a breed standard. Although this unnecessary cosmetic surgery is regularly performed by veterinarians, it is often done by untrained individuals without anesthesia in non-sterile environments.
A large-scale industrial site where many animals raised for food—mainly chickens, turkeys, cows and pigs—are confined and treated with hormones and antibiotics to maximize growth and prevent disease. The animals lead short, painful lives; factory farms are also associated with various environmental hazards.
Animal cruelty is considered a crime in all 50 states. But in some states it is taken more seriously-and can carry a felony charge, rather than a misdemeanor.
A cat too poorly socialized to be handled and who cannot be placed into a typical pet home; a sub-population of free-roaming cats.
A food item, considered a gourmet delicacy, produced from the liver of ducks or geese who have been force-fed enormous quantities of food two or three times per day through a pipe inserted into the bird's esophagus. The force-feeding process is done for three to four weeks before slaughter and can result in the rupture of internal organs, respiratory difficulties, infection and premature death.
Process by which egg-laying hens are starved for up to 14 days, exposed to changing light patterns and given no water in order to shock their bodies into molting. It is common for 5% to 10% of hens to die during this process.
Hog-Dog Fighting (also Hog-Baiting or Hog-Dog Rodeos)
A blood sport in which a hog or feral pig is mauled by a trained fighting dog in an enclosed pen. Because its legality, as determined by state anti-cruelty laws, can be vague, many states, particularly in the American South where hog-dog fighting is more common, have passed laws specifically criminalizing it.
Intentional cruelty occurs when an individual purposely inflicts physical harm or injury on an animal; usually an indicator of a serious human behavior problem.
Internet Hunting (also Remote-Controlled or Computer-Assisted Hunting)
Combines video shooting games with the power of Internet technology to allow a remote computer user to kill real animals. At the game ranch that the “hunters” see on their monitors, a gun is mounted on a robotic tripod controlled by their computer mouse. Animals are lured within close range with food, at which time the armchair hunter can line up a shot and “fire” at will. Legislation has been passed to ban Internet hunting in many states.
Middlemen who travel from horse auction to horse auction, purchasing any horse they can. They eventually sell these animals to slaughterhouses for human consumption, but regularly subject horses to cruel and inhumane treatment-i.e. beating them, depriving them of food and water.
Leg Hold Trap
This steel-jaw trap is most often used to trap wild animals that are killed for their fur, such as beavers, lynx, bobcats and otters. Trapped animals usually do not die instantly, and are left to suffer intense pain, dehydration and starvation. Sometimes dogs and cats who are allowed to roam outdoors are also caught and killed in these traps.
The failure to provide an animal with the most basic of requirements of food, water, shelter and veterinary care. Neglect is often the result of simple ignorance on the animal owner's part and may be handled by requiring the owner to correct the situation.
Neutering (AKA Castration)
The surgical removal of the reproductive glands (testes) of the male animal.
The transfer or sale of shelter animals to research facilities of any kind, including those that engage in scientific research and experimentation. As of 2004, 14 states and many communities prohibit pound seizure either by state law or local regulation.
A hormone replacement therapy drug made from pregnant mares' urine (PMU), collected from horses who are confined in stalls for half the year, strapped to urine collection funnels.
Puppy Mill/Kitty Mill
Breeding facilities that produce large numbers of purebred dogs and cats. The animals are regularly sold to pet shops across the country. Documented problems of puppy mills include over-breeding, inbreeding, poor veterinary care and overcrowding.
A form of abuse to show horses where a mechanical or chemical agent is applied to the lower leg or hoof of a horse, for the purpose of "enhancing" the animal's gait, forcing him to throw his front legs up and out.
A currently or recently owned dog or cat that may be lost; usually well socialized but may become wary over time. A stray's kittens or pups may be feral.
Spaying (AKA Ovario-Hysterectomy)
The surgical removal of the reproductive organs (ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes) of the female animal.
A classification of female fowl after one or two years of producing eggs at an unnaturally high rate. No longer financially profitable for factory farmers, they are slaughtered.
When a purebred dog's tail is cut to conform to a breed standard. Although this cosmetic surgery is performed by veterinarians, it is often done by amateurs, without anesthesia, in non-sterile environments.
The 3 Rs
Methods used in animal research as an attempt to alleviate a research animal's pain and suffering. Researchers are required to consider using reduction alternatives (methods that reduce the number of animals needed in a study), refinement alternatives (methods that alleviate or minimize potential pain and distress and enhance animal well-being) and replacement alternatives (finding means other than using animals to achieve the goals of the study).
An operation, performed on cats, which severs the tendons in the toes so that the cat is unable to extend his/her nails to scratch. Owners who choose to have this surgery performed must clip their cat’s nails regularly, as the cat is unable to maintain them him/herself.
The act of chaining/tying an animal, usually a dog, to a stationary object as a means of confinement. Tethering is a risk factor for aggressive behavior and dog bites.
Trap/Neuter/Return (AKA TNR)
A method of managing feral cat colonies that involves trapping the animals, spaying or neutering them, vaccinating them (ideally) and returning them to where they were found.
From birth to slaughter at five months, calves used to produce "formula-fed" or "white" veal are confined to two-foot-wide crates and chained to inhibit movement. They are fed an iron-and fiber-deficient diet resulting in anemia; the lack of exercise retards muscle development, resulting in pale, tender meat.
Literally, “vivisection” means the cutting of or operation on a living animal, and historically referred only to experiments that involved the dissection of live animals. The terms is now used to refer to any animal experimentation especially if considered to cause distress to the subject.