I should start by saying that my parents were kind people. They modeled being helpful and supportive of people who might struggle in the world because they were different from the other people in their family or community. They gave me a puppy for my birthday when I was 16, which makes them just about the best of anyone on the planet. But even with all that I grew up feeling embarrassed when I cared about certain things. I learned not to cry too much or too publicly when it was only a toad or squirrel. I didn’t visit zoos again for decades after seeing the primates in empty concrete cell blocks when I was in grade school. Thankfully others who shared my feelings about that changed the way exotic animals are housed and treated.
Animal trainers are in the position to publicly and assertively state the value of being kind to animals. Those who believe this need to drown out the voices that justify pain, force, fear and intimidation in training. There is evidence to support the relationship between causing harm to animals and causing harm to people. It should never be normalized, and we don’t have to tolerate it.