I always loved animals. When I was a child I loved reading about them in a big encyclopedia of animals that my "big sister" gave me as a Christmas gift.
I had many pets growing up. My grandfather had three large cages with all kinds of birds, and I loved walking in them quietly and spend time with them. My mother found me once in the pen where the chickens were kept.
In Italy I spent time at our farms with all sorts of animals: rabbits, cows, chicken, pigs horses and pets. The cows would work in the fields and carry the grapes to the cantina, where my brothers made wine. My mother and uncles had horses and donkeys.
But, yes, we ate chickens. And pigs, and birds, and rabbits and cows. Pretty soon in life I saw how they were killed and prepared. We did not buy meat "packaged" on the supermarket shelves then!
I was very sad, as a teenager when I shot a bird just to try and see if I could shoot with a rifle. One shot. I did not miss. I never intentionally killed an animal since (apart from insects) or even used a rifle.
I loved having pets of my own. I had german shepherds all throughout my life and my children got acquainted with cats and dogs, wild rabbits, beavers, raccoons and foxes, snakes and wild animals in our Canadian very own forest "back yard".
I would never be cruel to an animal.
All that said, I believe that before the "cruelty to animals" cause we should join the "cruelty to humans" cause. There are many ways in which humans are cruel to others. At the top of the list is murder. When someone takes the life of another human being, we put them in jail (except for abortionists).
Taking someone's life is the most serious offence we can commit. Still hundreds of lives are taken, each year, no, each minute! In the North America alone. That is, 12 human beings per second, that never had a chance to develop, grow up and live. This is our culture of death we share as a "developed" and "compassionate" society.
Before dedicating our efforts to saving animals, let's become aware of the human massacre happening around us, and let's do one thing every day to promote the culture of life.
The way I see it, anyway.