Nowadays, there's a groundswell of support around animal causes and people are about as serious about their well-being as ever.
While the idea of adoring animals and considering them members of the family has always existed to some extent, it's much more common to gather and take action when these creatures are being threatened.
Once upon a time, it was common to just consider animals as belonging to people no matter what they chose to do to them, but both cultural norms and the law now agree that this allows too much abusive behavior to go unchallenged.
But while every region has their own animal cruelty laws, some acts are considered so heinous that they're a crime against the nation itself. At least, they are now thanks to a new act that just passed through congress.