By Aysha Akhtar (auth.)
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Additional info for Animals and Public Health: Why Treating Animals Better is Critical to Human Welfare
Numerous charitable organizations were also approached but they also cited lack of authority to intervene. Finally, Wheeler approached Bergh, arguing that since the child was part of the animal kingdom she was entitled to protection under the ASPCA. Bergh initiated an investigation into Mary Ellen’s situation, which ultimately led to her being placed into protective custody and to the conviction of her caretaker. As a result of the public outcry over Mary Ellen’s case, laws were amended in New York to allow for the establishment of child protection organizations.
76 As stated by Stephen Leeder from the Menzies Centre for Health Policy in New South Wales, Australia, ‘the new public health makes considerable reference to sociological and anthropological insights and engages with the world of human behavior . . 77 As a result of these insights, physicians, nurses and public health practitioners have become an integral part and are, at times, at the forefront of social change. We now understand that how we interact with and treat each other, how we view others, how we share (or do not share) our resources, how we eat, how we work, how we play, how we shelter ourselves, how we think, how we govern ourselves, how we spend money and how we relate to our environment—in short, how we live—inﬂuence our health.
We must pay attention to whether or not the animals we encounter are abused, are forced to endure their lives in conﬁnement, live under daily terror, are deprived of environmental stimulation, are removed from their own kind or are deprived of meaningful social interactions because all of these factors may affect humans. A beaten elephant may become a rampaging elephant; an abused cat may be a stepping stone for someone on their way to abusing a child; a distressed pig in a factory farm may be a reservoir of infectious diseases; and a terriﬁed rat in the laboratory may produce study results that endanger human health.