Favoring the Abuser

Animal abuse is a growing conflict around the world. Animals continue to suffer because of the abuser and are even killed because of it. However, many people believe that the abuser does this because they learn it from growing up in a dysfunctional home but that is not the case. The abuse of an animal is caused from a number of different other things like the abuser’s negative attitude towards animals, the abuser is involved in an organization involved in animal abuse, the abuser could even suffer from mental disorders that causes them to abuse the animal and etc.

One reason the abuser commits animal abuse could simply be that they strongly dislike animals. The abuser doesn’t care what happens and believe animals don’t experience pain the same way humans do. According to Robert Agnew in his article, “The Causes of Animal Abuse: A Social-Psychological Analysis,” he states that “Many individuals believe that animals do not experience pain or, in less extreme forms, that animals have a higher threshold of pain or do not experience pain in response to the same stimuli as humans.” Abusers don’t really think of animals as other living things and take their anger out on them without even thinking. Their dislike of the animals causes them to lash out against the animal. This is not the only cause of animal abuse.

Animal abuse is also caused by the abuser being involved in some sort of organization that contains animal abuse. Hunters, slaughterhouse workers and cockfighters are some examples of this. Robert Agnew has stated in his article, “The Causes of Animal Abuse: A Social-Psychological Analysis,” that “Cockfighters, for example, often claim that it is in the animals’ nature to fight and die: God placed them on earth for this reason and the birds are voluntary and enthusiastic participants in the fighting activity.” The abusers involved in cockfighting believe the birds are on this earth to fight, however this still isn’t the right attitude to have towards these creatures. It still continues to increase the conflict of animal abuse.

Suffering from a mental disorder is also a reason for the abuse of an animal. Antisocial behavior is the main disorder that causes the abuse. According to Elleonora Gullone, in her article “Conceptualising Animal Abuse with an Antisocial Behaviour Framework,” she states, “Further, both animal abuse and bullying have been related to later antisocial behaviours and antisocial personality disorder.” People being antisocial has also increased as well with all the technology we have now in today’s age. The more antisocial people the more there is a chance for those people to turn into animal abusers. According to Lorine Hughes, in her article, “The Crime of Animal Abuse in Two Nonwestern Cities: Prevalence, Perpetrators, and Pathways,” she states that, “In addition, animal abuse appears to be associated with a host of antisocial behaviors among perpetrators.” Antisocial behavior is proven to almost always be in relation to animal abuse and continues to convey the problem.

Another reason the abuse on animals continues is that the abusers believe they are benefitting from abusing the animal. The abusers try to show off by abusing the animals trying to demonstrate that they are tougher than they really are. For example, Lorine Hughes talks a lot about Robert Agnew’s article, “The Causes of Animal Abuse: A Social-Psychological Analysis,” to further her points in her article. She states in her article, “The Crime of Animal Abuse in Two Nonwestern Cities: Prevalence, Perpetrators, and Pathways,” that In addition to material benefits, Agnew (1998, p. 192) argues that animal abuse may produce psychic rewards and be a source of status and prestige, such as would be the case if perpetrators feel they are impressing others by harming animals violently.” A crime being committed for something like this just isn’t worth it at all. Not only is it a felony but it’s just wrong. This is another living thing that is being abused and even killed in some circumstances.

One other reason is that the abuser doesn’t believe the animal doesn’t feel the same kind of pain a human can feel. They don’t think of these living things as feeling the same pain as humans just because they’re different. According to Lorine Hughes, she sates in her article, “The Crime of Animal Abuse in Two Nonwestern Cities: Prevalence, Perpetrators, and Pathways,” that “Singling out empathy and self-control, he argues that less empathic individuals are likely to have trouble understanding the pain and suffering experienced by animals and that individuals with low self-control are ‘more likely to take advantage of the benefits of animal abuse’ and to be ‘less aware of the abusive consequences of their actions for animals, less willing to grant animals moral consideration, and less aware of and concerned about the negative personal consequences of their actions’ (Agnew 1998, p. 194).” The abusers don’t think about what they’re doing before they abuse the animal and don’t consider what will happen to them if the behavior continues.

The number of cases of the abuse on animals continues to grow and it is a problem that is really ignored throughout the world. Their are a number of different causes such as the abuser having mental disorders, the abuser thinking the abuser can’t feel the same pain as humans, or even the abusers believing they are benefitting from creating pain and suffering towards the animal. The abusers being involved in some sort of organization involving animal abuse is another cause of this. Hunters don’t see it as a problem even though they are ending that animal’s life. Cockfighters as well see it as a show. They don’t care what happens to the animal either. They can say that the animals are put there for them to be killed just to make it seem like it’s okay. This problem can’t be ignored any longer. It comes from all these different things just keeps conveying the problem.


AGNEW, R. (1998). The Causes of Animal Abuse: A Social-Psychological Analysis. Theoretical Criminology2(2), 177–209. 

Gullone, E. (2011). Conceptualising Animal Abuse with an Antisocial Behaviour Framework. Animals (Basel)1(1), 144–160.

Hughes, L. (2020). The Crime of Animal Abuse in Two Nonwestern Cities: Prevalence, Perpetrators, and Pathways. Journal of Quantitative Criminology36(1), 67–94.

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1 Response to Rebuttal-rowanstudent24

  1. davidbdale says:

    RowanStudent, I admire the passion with which you are pursuing this argument. I don’t see how it will convince anyone to stop abusing animals, but it will encourage a lot of nodding among readers who already agree with you. Maybe you will be able to enlighten them about the common thread that runs through all forms of abuse. That would be a good hypothesis.

    As far as this particular Rebuttal Essay goes, it isn’t a rebuttal essay. It doesn’t clearly identify a position contrary to your own and then refute it. If your thesis had isolated a SINGLE CAUSE for ALL animal abuse, then you could dispute that ANY OTHER CAUSE, such as growing up in a dysfunctional home, would cause abuse. But you haven’t done that. Your Causal essay promotes all sorts of causes of abuse. Your Definition essay is actually another collection of arguments that suggest multiple causes of abuse. Again here, in your Rebuttal argument, you offer FIVE CAUSES of animal abuse.

    That is clearly your thesis. ABCDE&F all lead to X.

    As I see it, you can retrieve your work and produce a successful Research Position Paper with the following technique.

    1. Since you CANNOT pursue the project of showing that MANY DIFFERENT CAUSES have MANY DIFFERENT RESULTS, you have to replace that thesis with this one: ONE ROOT CAUSE is responsible for a BROAD RANGE of ANIMAL ABUSES. If you choose that approach, you can spend your 1000 words of Definition argument demonstrating that what we cluster under the heading ANIMAL ABUSE is actually a broad collection of animal maltreatments that range from training pets with choke collars, to neglecting them with poor food and housing, to the food industry practice of confining chickens in pens too small to turn around in, to inhumane methods of slaughter, to sport hunting, to elephant training with electric prods, to horse-racing, to cock-fighting, to the simple choice of eating meat. I would NEVER recommend this at the beginning of a semester, but you’re so far down that path now that I don’t see many alternatives. MAYBE if you start with all those branches, you can WALK BACK toward the source where every abuser starts his journey. Could you find a SINGLE CAUSE?

    2. What’s the common element that leads different people to abuse animals in different ways? What do cockfight enthusiasts, meat eaters, dog beaters, sport hunters, livestock raisers, and horse racers have in common? You’ve said it in your own paper somewhere. When you figure that out, that ONE explanation for all those behaviors, let me know we’re on the same wavelength.

    Do that, and you can keep most of the work you’ve done. You might also need a couple new sources that describe the early life experiences that convince some of us that animal lives aren’t worth much and that they exist mostly for us to use any way we wish.


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