What would you get if you combine veterinary sciences with detective skills? The answer is THE ANIMAL CSI(Crime Scene Investigation)! This month, Dr. Melinda Merck launched a first of its kind veterinary forensic science training program at the University of Florida.
The program aims to teach participants the various principles and procedures of animal crime scene investigation and preservation of evidence in cases of animal abuse or neglect. It brings about a convergence of law enforcing (police and judiciary) and prevention of cruelty against animals(activists and veterinarians).Thus it would be mixing the right proportions of that compassionate feel towards animals with scientific practicality, while investigating animal crimes.Having this kind of a program is much welcome especially considering that most vets aren't forensic experts and vice-versa.
Animal crimes are on the rise and these include poaching, killing animals inhumanely as an act of sadistic lunacy or to carry out traditional rituals, torturing them for fun and even hoarding animals without taking care of them. All this might invoke a lot of sympathy and incite activists to protest against such malpractices. Yes, all this is absolutely essential. Animals are not going to voice their pain and suffering. It's up to humans to understand that and be their voice.But that again isn't sufficient.
Dr. Merck said,"My goal is to gather evidence to find and successfully prosecute the offender. I realize that what’s done is done and I have to work toward justice. It is very hard because of my empathy for animals, but the best thing I can do for them is be their voice." (ASPCA)It is also about getting such animals justice and punishing the crime. For that, the crime has to be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. Forensic veterinary science experts would be concrete players in that direction then.
Animal crimes cannot and should not be ignored because they are non-human crimes. It has been found that people who abuse animals are more likely to commit crimes against people. Hence, coming up with an ANIMAL CSI may not be just another interesting or amusing idea, but a concept that if taken seriously may actually help our society, where we humans co-exist with other living creatures. It's about time we learn to respect this co-existence and use serious means to do that if necessary!