Favoring the Abuser
Animal abuse is a growing conflict around the world. Many animals continue to suffer because of the abuse they endure and some are even killed. However, it is speculated that the abuser commits this abuse because it is learned from growing up in a dysfunctional home. Some would argue the abuse of an animal is caused from a number of different other things such as an abuser’s negative attitude towards animals, an abuser involved in an organization having to do with animal abuse, or an abuser could even suffer from mental disorders that causes them to abuse the animal.
One argument is that an abuser commits animal abuse simply because of their negative attitude toward animals. Some would argue that an abuser doesn’t care what happens to an animal 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 in this situation don’t think animals experience pain as other living things do and use them as an outlet for their anger. From this viewpoint, their attitude toward animals causes them to lash out against animals. However a conflicting argument comes from research in the article, “Animal Cruelty and Neglect FAQ,” from the Humane Society,“Animal cruelty, like any other form of violence, is often committed by a person who feels powerless, unnoticed or under the control of others. The motive may be to shock, threaten, intimidate or offend others or to demonstrate rejection of society’s rules. Some who are cruel to animals copy acts they have seen or that have been done to them. Others see harming an animal as a safe way to get revenge against—or threaten—someone who cares about that animal.” This research supports that animal cruelty could be committed from a person who may feel powerless as a result of an abusive or dysfunctional home environment. Many victims of abuse feel powerless, unnoticed or under the control of others.
Others would argue that animal abuse is also caused by an abuser being involved in some sort of organization that involves animal abuse or cruelty. Hunters and cockfighters would be 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. According to some alternative research in the article, “The Connection Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence”, Dr. Harold Hovel writes, “The cruelty involved in animal fighting for human “entertainment” is almost unimaginable. Cockfighting and dogfighting have become epidemic in the U.S. and are common in many parts of the world. In the United States, both are felonies in all 50 states. In cockfighting, roosters are fitted out with razors or small knives attached to their feet, or alternately 3-inch-long spike-like“gaffs.” In fights they slash each other or stab each other until the blood loss and torn flesh render one or both unable to continue.” Dr. Hovel goes on to say, “Children are born with a love of animals, but the home environment plays a major role in determining a child’s prosocial or antisocial personality and behavior. Child abuse, neglect, abandonment, and witnessing domestic violence are major factors in creating violent individuals, along with poverty, alcoholism, and toxic neighborhoods.” This article supports the argument that a violent or dysfunctional home environment significantly increases the likelihood of animal abuse or cruelty.
Suffering from a mental disorder is also argued to be 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 become animal abusers. Antisocial behavior is proven to almost always be in relation to animal abuse and continues to further increase the problem. Alternately, in the article “The Connection Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence”, Dr. Harold Hovel writes, “Stopping domestic violence is a key to reducing our violent culture. Most violent criminals (60-70%) and violent psychiatric patients were abused as children, and a majority (>60%) started committing animal cruelty at an early age.” According to Dr. Hovel, one could come to the conclusion that the abuse precedes the antisocial behavior which in turn increases the likelihood of animal abuse. This article proves that a dysfunctional or abusive home environment significantly impacts the occurrence of animal abuse.
The number of cases of the abuse of animals continues to grow and it is a problem that is ignored throughout the world. There are a number of different causes being presented as stated earlier but abusive and dysfunctional home environments seem to remain at the root of this issue. In his article, ““The Connection Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence”, Dr. Harold Hovel writes, “Animal cruelty is linked directly or indirectly with every type of violent crime, and, what is not as well known, also with most nonviolent crime. Human beings would benefit enormously if fighting animal cruelty (investigating, prosecuting) were taken seriously. Many human lives would be saved and much human suffering would be prevented.” The statistics surrounding animal abuse are staggering and the effect it leaves on the animals includes fear, pain, and desperation. This problem can no longer be ignored.
AGNEW, R. (1998). The Causes of Animal Abuse: A Social-Psychological Analysis. Theoretical Criminology, 2(2), 177–209. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362480698002002003
Gullone, E. (2011). Conceptualising Animal Abuse with an Antisocial Behaviour Framework. Animals (Basel), 1(1), 144–160. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani1010144
Humane Society. (n.d.). Animal cruelty and neglect FAQ. Retrieved November 18, 2020, from https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/animal-cruelty-and-neglect-faq
Hovel, H. (2019). The Connection Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence. Kingston, New York: New York State Humane Association. doi:https://www.nyshumane.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Hovell-H-Animal-Abuse-Web-print-2-2020-edition-OPTIM-ToC-revised3.pdf