i do not believe there is an overwhelming amount of overt intentional cruelty in our western animal world...there is some but it is not the major source of our animal's problems...stupidity is.
we are all born with varying numbers of brain cells and varying abilities to use them..some folks have a lot..some folks have less and some folks choose to simply not use the ones more or less that they were given.
i understand when simple minded people get into trouble with their animals..they may not comprehend the connection between a horse getting skinny while providing them with hay and the horse having bad teeth and being unable to eat.
but having said that...when the horse starts getting skinny....they should call the vet.
i also understand that many even brilliant folks are unable to think outside of the box so the common sense answer to an incontinent (no matter how well loved animal)..is to toss them outside to live and then the inside of the house stays clean.
this works ok for the humans but what about the old, incontinent animal stuck outside in the rain? even if they are provided with a decent bed/house that they may or may not even use..how do you think it suddenly feels to be banished outside and living alone, every night and day?
and this is when we actually choose to be stupid...oh..i don't think he is in pain, i don't think he feels vulnerable or afraid....i think he likes the freedom better out there in the fresh clean air...he is so confused now, he prefers the peaceful quiet out there.
from personal experience, let me tell you..first and foremost..growing old hurts. i am not groaning and wincing when i get up to move from any major injury or illness..i am doing it because growing old hurts. universally for every single species, the same aging things occur...our bones become weaker, our muscles, tendons and connective tissues become stiffer and less elastic, our joints become drier and parts start rubbing together without any lubricant. inflammation begins and with inflammation comes pain. dog, cat, horse or human..the normal body aging process is exactly the same. toss in a few previous injuries in some distant past that most of us experience sometime in life and aging hurts even worse.
choosing to think my ancient dog, cat, horse is not in pain is making a choice to be stupid.
choosing to think my ancient incontinent cat or dog likes living outside is choosing to be stupid.
choosing to think any failing or ailing animal of any age does not need to see the vet is choosing to be stupid.
sometimes when caring for another's life.... not being stupid is a kinder choice.