I went to a landscaping materials supplier in Antipolo today to buy some ara-al stone, and was playing with this friendly kitten whilst waiting for my pick-up to be loaded. I noticed that his whiskers had been cut off, so I asked the nursery owner what had happened to it.
She told me that her kids had cut the whiskers off. I suggested to her - as politely as I could - that maybe she should tell her kids not to do that. I explained why cats need their whiskers and that they can become very disoriented and distressed if their whiskers are cut off. Fortunately this little fellow didn't seem to be suffering any ill-effects, but it annoyed me that the mother didn't seem concerned about it, even after I explained why cutting off a cat's whiskers is a big no-no.
Unfortunately, living in Asia exposes you to a lot of ill-treatment of animals. Cutting off whiskers is a comparatively mild form of physical abuse compared to some of the things I have seen. I frequently see kittens dumped on median strips of busy highways where they are unlikely to survive more than 24 hours unless a passing motorist stops and picks them up (something I have never seen happen, or been able to do myself, because usually the traffic is moving too fast and it would be dangerous to stop).
A Filipino friend told me recently that his cat was blind because neighbourhood kids had poked its eyes out "for fun". What was almost as disturbing was that he too seemed to be unconcerned about it.
And then of course there are the dog-eating festivals in China where pet dogs are stolen from suburban streets and boiled alive, and the bloody dolphin-killing rituals in Japan that attract international condemnation every year.
Why do people in Asia treat animals so badly? I don't know the answer to that question.
Yes I know my question is based on a generalisation, but from my observations from 50 years of traveling the globe, it seems to me that the treatment of animals in Asia is far worse than in any other part of the world.