Every day, thousands of animal abuse cases are reported. However, animal abuse statistics reveal that the majority of animal and pet abuse cases are never brought to light. Cruelty to animals is a very real issue that happens in all parts of the world, no matter the social or economic status of the abuser.
There are various types of animal cruelty: organized cruelty (like dogfighting and cockfighting), neglect, and intentional cruelty.
If you want to fight animal cruelty or help raise awareness, take a look at some of the most shocking statistics and facts about animal abuse.
The Top 10 Alarming Animal Cruelty Statistics and Facts
- Every 60 seconds, one animal suffers abuse.
- Close to 65% of all abused animals are dogs.
- Every year, more than 10 million animals die from abuse in the US alone.
- From 2008 to 2015, more than 80,000 Greyhounds became part of the racing industry.
- In 2006, 3 slaughterhouses in the US killed and processed 104,000 horses for human consumption.
- On average, 250,000 animals every year are victims of animal hoarding.
- Statistics on animal abuse reveal that there are over 10,000 puppy mills in the United States.
- One third of parrot species are in danger of being extinct because of the exotic bird trade.
- Every year, more than 115 million animals in the world are used for laboratory experiments.
- About 97% of all animals that are tortured and killed every year are farm animals.
Keep reading to find out more about what animal abuse is, why people abuse animals, and how to put an end to this awful torture.
General Animal Abuse Facts and Statistics
1. Every 60 seconds, one animal suffers abuse.
Even though today’s society is modern and advanced, people turn a blind eye when it comes to animal and pet abuse, and in some cases they condone it. The abuse comes in many forms, but the effect it leaves on animals is always the same: fear, pain, and desperation.
2. Close to 65% of all abused animals are dogs.
The animal cruelty facts report that the most common victims of this cruelty are dogs. Moreover, this doesn’t refer to dogs in general, but specific breeds. Statistics show that one in every four abused dogs is a Pit Bull. Some countries, like the UK, have banned this breed to prevent animal cruelty. As a note, they’ve also banned this breed with the thought of preventing Pit Bull attacks on people.
3. There are two types of animal abuse: passive and active cruelty.
Passive cruelty mostly includes cases of animal neglect like improper shelter, dehydration, starvation, and so on. On the other hand, active cruelty involves intentionally harming the animal. This includes the beating, whipping, and branding of animals, which can often result in their death.
4. Approximately 71% of people who are reported for domestic violence also abuse their pets.
The animal abuse and domestic violence statistics show a clear correlation between domestic violence and animal abuse. Victims of domestic violence have reported that in the great majority of cases their abuser has also maltreated their pet.
5. Around 88% of the families under investigation for child abuse are also reported for animal cruelty.
(National Sheriff’s Association)
Animal abuse is very common in families with child abuse. Unfortunately, abuse leads to more abuse, so statistics show that 26% of the people who abuse animals were abused in their childhood. Children who witness domestic violence are three times more likely to abuse animals.
6. Children who are sexually abused are 5 times more likely to become animal abusers.
(National Sheriff’s Association)
In addition to this, children 10 years and older who abuse animals intentionally are two to three times more likely to have been abused. Animal abuse is also characteristic of the development of adult violent offenders. Up to two in three adults who are violent offenders have an animal abuse history.
Animal Abuse Statistics in the United States
7. It’s estimated that the lifetime prevalence of animal abuse in US adults is 1.8%.
Research has shown that men are the most likely to abuse animals. African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, people with low income and education levels, and adults who live in the west US regions are more likely to be reported for abusing animals.
8. Every year, more than 10 million animals die from abuse in the US alone.
(Letters to the Next President)
However, as the animal abuse facts from 2018 reveal, every year only 1,920 cases of animal abuse are presented by the media. Unfortunately, animal abuse still isn’t recognized as a serious issue in the United States, remaining an unpopular topic.
9. Every year, more than 6.5 million animals enter animal shelters.
Every year, shelters in the United States accept around 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats. According to the animal abuse statistics from the ASPCA, only 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted. Half of them are cats, and the other half are dogs. However, most of those that don’t get adopted, around 1.5 million, are euthanized.
10. More than 50% of the fur in the United States comes from China.
In fact, millions of cats and dogs in China are bled to death or skinned alive for their fur. Furthermore, some of the animal abuse statistics in America show that the fur coming from China is mislabeled, so there’s no sure way to know what creature’s skin you’ve chosen to wear.
11. From 2008 to 2015, more than 80,000 Greyhounds have become part of the racing industry.
Horrifying numbers show that there have also been 909 reported deaths—although it’s safe to assume that the number of Greyhound deaths is underreported. Moreover, the animal abuse statistics from 2015 also reveal that 16 racing Greyhounds were positive for cocaine. In addition, there were 27 reported cases of cruelty and neglect and 11,722 injuries.
12. In 2006, 3 slaughterhouses in the US killed and processed over 104,000 horses for human consumption.
Fortunately, these slaughterhouses have since been shut down, but murdering horses for consumption is still happening. From 2012 to 2016, approximately 137,000 horses were trucked to Mexico and Canada to be killed and processed for consumption. According to the animal abuse statistics from 2017, this number fell to 80,000 in 2017, but it still represents a major issue.
13. On average, 250,000 animals every year are victims of animal hoarding.
(Animal Legal Defense Fund)
The most outrageous form of animal abuse is animal hoarding. Hoarders usually have hundreds of cats and dogs. These creatures are malnourished, have serious medical issues, dental and eye illnesses, and psychological distress.
14. Statistics on animal abuse reveal that there are over 10,000 puppy mills in the United States.
(Puppy Mill Project)
Every year, these mills breed more than 2 million dogs for profit. The problem with puppy mills is that they often exist in horrible conditions. The puppies are not kept safe from cold, heat, or bad weather, and they spend their lives in wire cages stacked on top of each other.
15. Approximately 75,000 dogs are tortured in US labs every year.
(Dog Fact Center)
Animal abuse statistics from 2018 show that some universities go so far as to take dogs from shelters to use them in their experiments. They are most often used in toxicology studies, which involve the use of harmful pesticides, chemicals, and pharmaceutical medications.
16. Every year, US labs abuse more than 19,000 cats.
In addition to this, thousands of cats are sold to schools for dissections and various projects. These cats are most often homeless or adopted from shelters, just like in the case with dogs.
Animal Abuse Statistics Worldwide
17. Between 5,000 and 6,000 tigers in China currently live in captivity because of the traditional medicine industry.
(World Animal Protection)
The majority of Asian medicine doesn’t require wild animal products, but there are subindustries that create a horrible demand for big cat farming. Lions and tigers are farmed and poached for their body parts and bones, which are used for making traditional remedies. These animals are kept in tiny enclosures, and the animal abuse statistics from 2019 show that this hurts not only their bodies, but their psyches, as well.
18. The UK’s RSPCA gets a call about animal abuse every 27 seconds.
The number of animal cruelty cases investigated by the RSPCA rose by 5% in only one year, and now the organization gets more than 400 calls a day. Its cruelty hotline operates 24/7, and according to the animal abuse statistics from 2016, it investigated more than 150,000 reported cases in that year alone.
19. One third of parrot species are in danger of being extinct because of the exotic bird trade.
Millions of birds are illegally smuggled, traded, or sold on the black market to collectors or for illegal fighting. The global trade of birds has had a major negative impact, especially on parrots. Due to the loss of their habitat, a great number of parrot species are on the verge of extinction according to the domestic animal abuse statistics.
20. Every year, more than 115 million animals in the world are used for laboratory experiments.
(Humane Society International)
However, it’s estimated that this number is much higher since most countries don’t collect or publish data about animal use for testing and research. In the US, 90% of lab animals like mice, rats, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates aren’t included in official statements. The European Union uses more than 12 million animals, and the UK, France, and Germany are the top countries using these creatures.
Animal Abuse Statistics for Animal Farms
21. About 97% of all the animals that are tortured and killed every year are farm animals.
These animals aren’t seen as living beings—they’re mass produced for the product they become: eggs, milk, meat, and leather. These animals are drugged and confined only to produce more milk and eggs, breed more offspring, and die. Factory farming is a business, and farmers need to cut all costs to maximize their profit.
22. Farm animal abuse stats report that over 9 billion chickens are killed every year.
US slaughterhouses breed and kill 10 times more birds than any other animal. Additionally, 300 million chickens are used for their eggs. Moreover, no birds—chickens, hens, ducks, turkeys, geese, etc.—are protected by federal animal protection laws.
23. An estimated 95% of pigs get raised in factory farms that don’t allow them to live in a natural manner.
(World Animal Protection)
Additional farm animal abuse statistics show that three in every four mother pigs are confined in cages during their pregnancy. These cages are the size of an average refrigerator and are so small they can’t even turn. Factory farming is the biggest source of animal cruelty in the world.
24. Around 50% of all consumed fish are raised in artificial environments.
More often than not, fish are bred artificially, instead of being caught in the wilderness. People believe that fish can’t feel pain, but it’s been proven that along with pain, they also feel fear and suffering. Further animal abuse statistics show that fish farming, or aquaculture, is one of the fastest-growing food production industries.
25. Dairy cows must give 10 times more milk than they would in nature.
Milking machines often cut the cows or cause them other injuries. Some even give them electric shocks, resulting in their death. Usually, cows in nature live 20–25 years, but on farms, they’re killed after 3–5 years and used for meat.
Wild Animal Abuse Statistics
26. The majority of the sloths used for entertainment and tourism die within 6 months of their capture.
(World Animal Protection)
In their natural habitat, sloths live a quiet, sleepy life, undisturbed by the global craze for “wildlife selfies.” Unfortunately, sloths are the most commonly abused wild animals as a result of people seeking out “cute” photo opportunities. When they’re captured for this, they’re constantly surrounded by people and are therefore placed under high levels of stress.
27. Between 35,000 and 50,000 elephants are poached every year according to the animal cruelty statistics.
(Advocacy for Animals)
The elephant poaching crisis is currently at its peak. What’s even scarier, some elephant populations may very soon become extinct as a direct result. At this moment, more elephants are being killed for ivory than are being born.
28. Over 100 million sharks are killed every year illegally, primarily to make shark’s fin soup.
Furthermore, over 85% of the fisheries in the world have reached their maximum, or surpassed it. In addition to this, the animal abuse facts and information indicate that more than 650,000 marine mammals in the world are seriously injured or killed every year because they get accidentally caught in fishing gear.
29. Approximately 75% of pet lizards, snakes, turtles, and tortoises die within the first year of becoming someone’s pet.
(World Animal Protection)
Wild animals that are kept as pets suffer because nothing can replace their natural habitat. No matter whether they’re obtained legally or not, keeping wild animals as pets supports cruelty toward animals.
Statistics About Animal Abuse in the Entertainment Industries
30. Lions and tigers have 18,000 times less space in zoos than they would in nature.
(Freedom for Animals)
It’s a fact that animals in zoos suffer immensely simply because a zoo can’t provide as much space as they’d have in their natural habitat. In fact, lions spend 48% of their time pacing in their enclosure, which is a sign of a behavioral problem.
31. Around 75% of zoos and aquariums break the basic mistreatment rules.
In the case of animal abuse in zoos, statistics reveal that most of the world’s zoos and aquariums offer visitors some sort of interaction with animals. This includes areas where people can pet and touch them, or they train them for different shows, thus breaking the basic rules created by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
32. Circus animals spend 96% of their lives in cages.
Most of these animals spend almost their whole lives in cages, transported from one city to another. These animals are forced into submission, whipped, chained, and denied socialization with their own species. Animal abuse in circuses is a major problem as these animals are constantly exploited and left in terrible conditions.
33. Since the year 2000, there have been 35 documented dangerous incidents that involved circus elephants.
These animals spend 11 months a year traveling in small cages, often eating, sleeping, and urinating in the same place. Trainers usually use electric prods, bullhooks, and other painful methods to force the animals to perform. This results in elephants bolting from circuses. Some of the circus animal abuse statistics show that in these accidents, elephants have run through streets, attacked people, crashed into buildings, and injured or killed handlers.
34. Since 1990, 126 big cats have died in US circuses because of their confinement.
Additionally, more than 255 people have been injured and 26 have died in accidents with big cats from circuses. Circus training sessions aren’t monitored by the government, but undercover footage has shown that big cats are often hit with sticks and dragged by chains around their necks.
35. What is animal abuse?
Animal abuse and cruelty don’t just include physical harm, but psychological, as well. Torturing and beating animals, confining or transporting them in a way that’s bad for them, killing them in inhumane ways, and not giving them proper food and hydration or medication are all considered forms of animal abuse.
36. Why do people abuse animals?
There can be numerous reasons for animal cruelty. Most of the people who abuse animals feel like they’re under other people’s control. They feel they have no power or that they’re unnoticed. Many want to shock or threaten other creatures as a way to demonstrate their power. Others just project what has been done to them.
37. What are the best ways to stop animal abuse?
(Four Paws International)
There are some methods that everyone should practice. The best way how to stop animal abuse is by being a responsible pet owner, first and foremost. Only you can fulfill your pets’ needs, as well as show kindness to other pets and give shelter to animals in need. If you witness animal cruelty, you should immediately report it. Furthermore, you should educate people around you about animal cruelty. Children should also be taught from an early age how to respect and care for animals.
The Bottom Line
Unfortunately, as these animal abuse statistics have shown, animal cruelty is a very real issue that takes millions of victims every year. People should be aware of the daily struggles some animals go through and give their best to help them. We hope that these statistics and facts will raise awareness of animal cruelty and help stop it.
- Advocacy for Animals
- Animal Abuse
- Animal Legal Defense Fund
- Animal Matters
- Four Paws International
- Freedom for Animals
- Humane Society
- Humane Society International
- Letters to the Next President 2.0
- National Sheriff’s Association
- PETA Kids
- Sentient Media
- The Dog Fact Center
- The Guardian
- The Humane Society of the United States
- The Puppy Mill Project
- World Animal Protection USA