Animal Abuse Facts & the Cruelty Statistics in 2024

Last Updated on July, 2024

The FBI’s NIBRS defines animal cruelty as “Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment.”

As you read, many animals worldwide suffer in more ways than you can imagine.

These eye-opening animal abuse statistics need more attention because only 0.01% of the cases are brought to light. 

The REST? The rest slip under the radar, and most are neglected due to the lack of mindfulness despite being witnessed in plain sight. 

Animal cruelty can be a distressing topic to read. However, addressing these facts and statistics is extremely important to create awareness and encourage the public to be more compassionate. 

Quick Summary

Animal cruelty is defined by the FBI as intentionally mistreating or killing an animal without just cause, and is a widespread issue globally.

The statistics of animal abuse and deaths caused by human actions are alarming, with over 1 billion animals being killed or abused in various industries such as farming, entertainment, and research every year.

There are various ways in which animals are subjected to abuse, ranging from neglect to illegal practices like dog fighting and cockfighting. Some forms of animal abuse also involve exploiting them for profit in industries such as entertainment and pet breeding. Below, you can find statistics related to animal cruelty, which you can explore to gain more knowledge.

Table of Contents

Top 10 Most Shocking Animal Cruelty Statistics

  • EVERY MINUTE, an animal suffers abuse.
  • 65% of the Animal abuse victims are DOGS.
  • 50 million Animal deaths have been recorded as a result of animal abuse since 1990.
  • Over 10 billion land animals are sent to slaughterhouses for food every Year.
  • Asian Animals suffer the highest animal abuse rate in the world.
  • 97% of abused animals are farm animals.
  • 115 million animals across the globe are victims of laboratory testing.
  • Majority of circus animals’ lives are spent in confinement.
  • 71% of people who engage in domestic violence abuse their pets.
  • Over 200 animal species have become extinct since the 1700s as a result of animal abuse.

General Animal Abuse Statistics

Every Minute an Animal Suffers Abuse

a dog looking through a chain link fence

It is estimated that every minute, there is an animal suffering abuse as a result of human actions. (1)

There are animal protection laws in many states to prevent such abuse, but sadly, most of these laws are neglected, and many animals are left helpless without a voice for help.

So please take action and report to the humane society or animal control if you ever witness animal cruelty.

Asia Has the Highest Animal Abuse Rate

The history of Asian animal abuse goes back decades, making Asia the continent with the highest rate of abused animals in the world. (2)

This abuse includes bear bile farming, millions of cats and dogs killed for their meat, and the suffering of wild animals in captivity. 

In the U.S., Around 10 Million Animals Die Due to Abuse Every Year

Each Year, around 10 million animals die as a result of abuse in the U.S. alone. It may seem staggering, but the actual figure is much higher when considering worldwide deaths.

These statistics took a dramatic turn during the rise of the covid 19 pandemic. In 2021, the RSPCA received 1,081,018 calls from the public reporting animal abuse.

51,505 complaints were investigated and closed, meaning not all reported cases can be investigated. (3)

Every 30 Seconds, The RSPCA Receives a Call for Help

a stat showing that Every 30 Seconds, The RSPCA Receives a Call for Help

The RSPCA receives more than a call reporting abuse every 30 seconds. (4)

The rise in complaints is linked to higher animal rates, better awareness of animal abuse, and the willingness to extend help. Unfortunately, the organization can only prioritize extreme cases to investigate further.

Since 1990, 50 Million Animal Deaths Are Recorded As a Result of Animal Cruelty

Many animal species, from cats and dogs to bears and tigers, are senselessly subjected to torture and killed for various reasons. Reasons include meat, fur, entertainment, medical testing, and more. (5)

Around 2 Out of 100 U.S. Adults Engage in Animal Cruelty

This study from 2009 published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research shows that 1.8% of U.S. adults engage in animal abuse. This abuse is linked to antisocial behaviors. 

1.8% is around 2 people in every 100 people. Although it is an alarming number, not many of the cases are officially reported.

65% of Animal Cruelty Victims Are Dogs

A dog is a man’s best companion. These domestic animals are the most popular pet choice. Sadly, animal abuse rates indicate dogs are the most abused animals in the world. 

a stat of the number of pet owners in the united states in 2019

As of August 2023, 65 million U.S. households owned at least one pet dog. Although so many own dogs, not many put in the work to train them and spay or neuter them. (6)

This results in out-of-control and overpopulation issues, causing neglect and abuse. 

Not to forget the dogs used in races for entertainment and bred in factory farms for meat. 

Over 200 Species of Animals Are Extinct Due to Animal Abuse Since the 1700s

Every single animal species contributes to the healthy balance of biodiversity. 

Animal extinction is extremely tragic. The fact that animal cruelty has caused the extinction of over 200 species of animals is beyond fathomable. 

Intentional human exploitation of animal habitats is also considered animal cruelty, although animal welfare laws do not give importance to it. (7)

Men Below the Age of 30 Are Highly Likely to Abuse Animals

Be it toxic masculinity or young men wanting to prove themselves, there is a predominant prevalence of animal abuse in men under the age of 30.

These stats correlate with domestic abuse stats that indicate men under 30 are likely perpetrators of domestic violence, too.

During the First 2 Months Of 2021, Around 600 Animal Cruelty Cases (Abused Animals) Were Reported

The Covid-19 pandemic caused animal abuse cases to rise. With most people restricted to their houses, the rising tension leads to unintentional and intentional abuse. This can be attributed to more people witnessing or abusing animals. (8)

49 States Have Penalty Laws for Animal Cruelty Reinforced

a stat showing of 49 states have penalty laws for animal cruelty

49 states, excluding Iowa, have penalty laws that exercise punishments on first-time animal torture offenders. (9)

The enforcement of these animal cruelty laws in many states has made a considerable difference in highlighting animal torture is a serious crime in the U.S.

Between 2016 and 2017, The Number Of Animal Cruelty Cases Reported Was Tripled

An NIBRS report on abused animals statistics showed the number of cases between 2016 (1,100 cases) and 2017 (3,200 cases) tripled. It is ~30% of the U.S. population. (10)

In 2019, 80% of Dog Cruelty Cases Were Reported

There was an increased number of dog cruelty cases reported in 2019. The credit goes to increased awareness of animal welfare and the willingness to address the issue. (11)

Delaware Has the Most Number of Cases on Animal Cruelty

For every 100,000 people in Delaware, 113 animal cruelty cases are reported. (12)

Animal Cruelty Statistics: Human Gain

97% of All Animals Abused and Killed Are Farm Animals

a stat of 97% of all animals abused and killed farm animals

The phrase ‘farm animals’ paints a vivid image of torture. Animals like cows, pigs, poultry, etc., are bred and brought up in cramped conditions simply to harvest milk, meat, or eggs. (13)

As a result of this farm breeding, 97% of animal torture victims are farm animals.

Over 10 Billion Land Animals Are Killed in Animal Slaughter Houses Every Year in the U.S.

Animal meat is a massive and booming business. Each year, over 10 billion land animals are slaughtered for food. Of which over 9 billion were chickens. It does not include the 47 billion aquatic animals killed every Year. (14)

Every Year, Over 115 Million Animals Are Subjected to Laboratory Experiments Across the World

Animal testing is a horrifying process that subjects animals to cruelty for clinical and educational research purposes. Over 115 million animals, like cats, dogs, mice, rats, and monkeys, are sacrificed in the name of scientific research. (15)

If not killed, at least the animals end up with horrific injuries. Sadly, 95% of drugs that pass the testing are not approved for human use.

More Than 1.4 Million Mink Killed for Fur in the U.S.

According to animal abuse statistics, in 2021, ~1.4 million mink were farmed and killed for fur. Apart from fur, mink body parts are used for cosmetics. Israel is the only country that has banned the sale of mink fur. (16)

Over 5 Million Horses Killed for Meat Across the World

a stat of over 5 million horses killed for meat across the world

In 2018, 1.75 billion lbs of horse meat was produced. This accounts for ~5 million horses from across the world. (17)

Although horse meat slaughterhouses were shut down in the U.S. by 2007, 77 more countries run these.

Currently, 5000-6000 Tigers Live in Captivity to Aid China’s Traditional Medicine Industry

There are less than 4000 tigers in the wild. Tiger parts are widely used in Chinese medicine remedies. For this reason, around 6000 tigers are farmed in China. (18)

Big cat farming keeps these majestic animals in confined spaces, depriving them of essentials just to harvest their body parts for traditional medicine.

Around 99% of Pigs and Chickens Raised for Human Consumption Are Factory Farmed

a stat of 99% of pigs and chickens raised for human consumption are factory farmed

Factory farming is a major form of animal neglect and torture focused on profits. According to the 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture, 99% of farm animals are factory farmed. It includes 98.3% pigs, 70.4% cows, 99.8% turkeys, and 99.9% chickens.

Around 50% of Fish for Consumption Are Bred in Artificial Environments

Fish are the most commonly farmed meat in the world. Although half the fish population is artificially farmed, most of these fish are carnivores who feed on other fish. (19)

Food for these fish is sourced from the wild. And this contributes to the depletion of wild fish populations.

For Cows in the Dairy Industry, Lifespan is Reduced From 25 to 5 Years 

a stat showing that for cows in dairy industry life span is reduced from 25 to 5 years

The natural lifespan of dairy cows is around 15- 20 years. However, excessive milking significantly depletes their milk production capacity, and they are therefore sent to slaughterhouses. This reduces their lifespan by 80%.

Like most mammals, cows also produce milk after birth. But to support early and excessive milk production, cows are artificially inseminated. 

Dairy cows are subjected to extreme torture and trauma through multiple cycles of insemination, wreaking havoc within their bodies. (20)

Over 73 Million Sharks Are Killed for Shark Fin Soup

Shark Fin soup is a Southeast Asian delicacy that sells for as high as $100 per serving. Sadly, every Year, 73 million sharks become victims to allow humans to indulge in this delicacy. (21)

This rate of fishing does not only endanger the species; it is also barbaric because the sharks are released back into the water with their fins cut off.

Every Year Around 650,000 Marine Mammals Are Injured or Killed Due to Fishing Gears

Commercial fishing gear catches much more fish than it is intended to catch. ‘Bycatch’ approximately 650,000 marine wildlife, including dolphins and whales, become victims too. (22)

Most of these ‘bycatch’ animals drown while being trapped or, when thrown back into the ocean, suffer injuries and die.

Every Year, More Than 1 Billion Animals Are Killed for Their Skin

a stat showing that every year more than 1 billion animals killed for their skin

The multi-billion dollar leather market requires over 1 billion animal skins annually. These animals include cattle, crocodiles, elephants, snakes, bison, kangaroos, zebras, lizards and calves. (23)

The Humane Society vice president, Richard Swain, says over 2 million cats and dogs (mostly originating from Asia) are killed for fur.

19,000 Are Abused in the U.S. Laboratories Every Year

According to PETA, over 19,000 cats are abused in the name of science research in U.S. laboratories every Year. (24)

Every Year, Over 100,000 Dogs Are Subjected to Research Purposes in the U.S. Laboratories

Many U.S. laboratories take dogs from shelters and rescues for testing and experiments. These dogs are taken in because they don’t get adopted or find a home, so they don’t have anywhere else to go. (25)

Animal Cruelty Statistics in the Pet Industry

1 Out of 3 Pet Owners Abuse Their Pet

Pet abuse can be both active and physical or passive and mental. Passive cruelty is horrendous, but mental abuse also plays a major role. (26)

At least one-third of pet owners abuse their pets. And these include actions and choices that they don’t even consider to be abuse. Failing to provide proper nutrition and lack of physical activity that can lead to health issues is considered abuse.

Around 6.3 Million Pet Animals Enter U.S Animal Shelters Every Year

Close to 6.3 million animals enter shelters annually. Since cats and dogs breed in litter, spaying and neutering are the ways to control these numbers and limit animal abuse. (27)

Each Year, ~1 Million Cats and Dogs Are Euthanized

a stat saying that Each year 1 million cats and dogs are euthanized

With over 6.3 million pets entering shelters and 4.1 million being adopted and rehomed, a surplus remains. (28)

Since the high surplus, rescues and shelters cannot care for these large numbers. So, ~1 million dogs and cats are euthanized because they fail to find a home.

There Are Over 10,000 Active Puppy Mills in the U.S.

Currently, there are over 10,000 puppy mills in the U.S., And Missouri is the leading state for mass-breeding dogs. Puppy mills are mass-producing factory farms that breed puppies for profit. (29)

250,000 Animals Die Every Year Due to Animal Hoarding

Animal hoarding is when people take on more pets than they can care for. Women over 60 are accused of being common hoarders, with cats being the common hoarded animals.

According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, 250,000 animals die annually due to hoarding.

Around 75% of Pet Lizards and Reptiles Die Due to Loss of Natural Habitat

a stat showing that around 75% of Pet lizards and Reptiles Die Due to Loss of Natural Habitat stat

Removing animals from their natural habitat for captivity deprives them of basic survival needs. Although the natural lifespan of reptiles and tortoises can vary from 10- 100 years, not many even survive the first Year. (30)

Animal Hoarding Has Increased Since1999 When it Was Considered a Mental Disorder

Animal hoarding is most common in women above 60. Of that, 71% were single, widowed, or divorced women. (31)

Animal Cruelty Statistics in the Entertainment Industry

Greyhound Owners Drug Their Dogs for Races

Greyhound racing is a major competitive sport.

Over the past decade, 438 greyhounds tested positive for drugs, and 73 of them positive for cocaine. Greyhound owners pitching their dogs to these races go to any lengths to win. (32)

Also, in Florida, over 50% of female greyhounds are given anabolic steroids to improve racing performance. (33)

Most Sloths Used in Entertainment Die Within 6 Months of Capture

Sloths are quiet animals who enjoy peaceful surroundings. Putting them up for tourist entertainment, like capturing photos, causes them much stress, resulting in negative health effects and eventually death. (34)

Around 75% of Zoos and Aquariums Do Not Follow Treatment Procedures

a stat showing that around 75% of Zoos and Aquarium Do Not Follow Treatment procedures

Zoos and aquariums are the most popular destinations for animal display for public entertainment.

However, a study involving 1,241 of these places revealed that 75% were breaking the advice and regulations they were supposed to follow. These include animal shows and petting experiences. (35)

Circus Animals Spend Most of Their Lives in Confinement

96% of a circus animal’s life is spent in confinement. In chains or cages. Circuses go from place to place with animals in cages. So, no doubt their living conditions are horrific. (36)

Most circus animals are tortured and pressured to perform publicly for profit. It causes physical and emotional health issues. 

Dogfighting and Cockfighting Result in Many Deaths Every Year

Although dog and cockfighting are banned in the U.S., many events still take place, leading to the meaningless deaths of many dogs and chickens. (37)

Dogs, most commonly pit bulls, are specifically bred and trained for this vicious and illegal dogfighting entertainment.

85% of Tragic Racehorse Injuries Occur Due to Overworking the Horses 

a stat showing that 85% of Tragic Racehorse Injuries Occur Due to Overworking the Horses

Overworking race horses affects their overall health, often causing Plantar Osteochondral Disease due to constant wear and tear. 85% of disastrous injuries in horse racing are linked to a lack of resting time between races. (38)

50% of Rescue Pit Bulls Are Euthanized

Although Pit bulls are not innately violent, their rugged and vicious nature makes them the most popular choice of dogs for dogfighting. Their lack of performance and stigma in fighting it results in 50% of them being euthanized.

Animal Cruelty Statistics and Domestic Violence 

28% of Animal Abuse Occurs in Violent Homes Where Physical Child Abuse Also Happens

Animal abuse cases make up almost ⅓ of the U.S. violent crimes. The term violent crime includes acts of murder, robbery, rape, and assault. A NIBRS research analyzed the criminal characteristics of 150 adult males arrested for animal cruelty. (39)

41% were previously arrested at least once for interpersonal violence, 28% for interpersonal crimes (Ex: harassment, violation of restriction order and other crimes), and 18% for sex offenses.

In 71% of Domestic Violence Cases, Culprits Abuse Their Pets

A survey on past and present pet ownership of domestic violence victims revealed that the victims remain or delay leaving the abuser due to the fear of their pet’s safety. The abuser has threatened to, and in certain cases, have hurt and killed their pet. (40)

88% of Families Reported for Child Abuse Were Also Involved in Animal Cruelty

This survey of 53 pet-owning families revealed that 88% of the households with suspected child abuse and neglect were also animal abusers. (41)

Children Who Are Sexually Abused Are 5 Times More Likely to Engage in Animal Abuse

a stat of children who are badly raised are 5 more likely to suffer animal abuse

Children from violent homes facing physical abuse are three times more likely to abuse animals. While sexually abused children are five times more likely to engage in animal abuse and even kill them.

Child abuse victims are traumatized with scars and emotions they do not know how to process. As a result, it is vented out as anger by lashing out against animals in an attempt to gain a certain control. (42)

Animal Cruelty Statistics Concerning Wild Animals 

Since 1990, 126 Big Cats in the U.S. Circus Captivity Have Died

Big cats are animals who belong to open spaces, not confined cages.

To train and maintain the training of circus animals for public entertainment, they are hassled and put through strenuous and stressful activities. 

As a result, 126 big cats who were victims of circus captivity have died. Circus atrocities don’t stop there. 250 humans have also suffered extreme injuries, and 23 have lost their lives. (43)

⅓ of Parrot Species Are Almost Extinct As a Result of the Exotic Bird Trade

Parrots represent a large part of the exotic pet trade. The rising demand for this trade has caused the almost extinction of a third of all parrot species. 

The Wild Bird Conservation Act in the U.S., although implemented in 1992, has still not fully shut down this trade. (44)

Every Year, 35,000 Elephants Die Due to Ivory Poaching

a stat of 35000 elephants die every year due to ivory poaching

35,000 elephants killed annually can be staggering. But the fact that more numbers are poached than are born each Year is more concerning. Poaching has reached extreme levels, where elephant extinction is possible within the next 100 years. (45)

Thousands of Endangered Animal Species Are Killed for Their Body Parts Illegally to Trade in Illegal Markets Every Year

Many animal species are poached for their body parts and organs to be sold in the black market.

Despite penalty laws against poaching, the act continues to rise. The number of poached South African Rhinos increased to 7,700% between 2007 and 2013. (46)

Over 12,000 Species Are Victims of Trafficking for Wildlife Trading

An IFAW report 2018 revealed that over 12,000 protected wildlife species were up for sale across 5,000 advertisements on over 100 platforms, including social media. These numbers were just over 6 weeks. (47)

Over 2000 Chimpanzees Live in Captivity in the U.S.

A chimpanzee hugging another chimpanzee in a zoo

Chimpanzees live in communities. Only around 200,000 chimpanzees are remaining in the wild. Sadly, in the U.S. alone, there are over 2000 living in captivity—300 in zoos and the rest in laboratories for clinical research. (48)

How to Stop Animal Cruelty and Abuse?

Animal cruelty and abuse are so extensive that the best way to approach this is through multiple aspects.

Below are some of the key aspects you can start with:

  • Adopt a pet from the shelter instead of buying.
  • Provide good care to your pets.
  • Donate to rescue and shelters to help them care for more animals.
  • Report to authorities when you see animal abuse happening. And educate people on animal care so they can report suspected animal cruelty. 
  • Minimize meat and poultry sourcing from factory farms.
  • On a larger scale, you can work on cracking the illegal black market and exotic animal trade, animal testing, hunting, and poaching.

Interesting topics:

Frequently Asked Questions

There are several reasons that have been identified for why people abuse animals. These include seeking enjoyment, displaying malicious behavior to feel a sense of control and superiority, and at times unknowingly perpetrating abuse without awareness of its impact.

Every year, billions of animals are abused worldwide, including those subjected to general abuse, medical testing, slaughterhouses, poaching, black market and illegal trade, and euthanized dogs and cats.

Yes, animal abuse and cruelty are considered against the law in most states and can also be considered a felony depending on the severity of the act.

Pigs, cats, dogs, and broiler chickens are among the most abused animals in the world.

Animal abuse can be classified into four groups according to the Humane Society: simple neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse (e.g. dog fighting and cockfighting), and animal sexual abuse.

Takeaway Thoughts

The above animal cruelty facts and statistics, although gruesome and alarming, are the grim reality we all need to be aware of.

This earth equally belongs to all living creatures. So, just like humans, animals deserve their space in this world. 

These animal cruelty statistics indicate the dire need for awareness and action by every single compassionate and responsible human being because only we as humans can be the voice for the voiceless.

We have to urge people to support the ethical treatment of animals. Apart from urging law enforcement agencies to uphold animal cruelty laws, advocating and creating more awareness in any way possible is the best way to handle this rising threat.

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Andrew Marshall
Andrew Marshall is a versatile writer with 2 years of experience writing & contributing for IPetGuides. He is based in US, LA and currently, he has a Rottweiler & a Dachsund dog breed.

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