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 The Psychology of Animal Cruelty

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Masculin Nombre de messages : 19960
Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: The Psychology of Animal Cruelty   Ven 12 Avr - 11:39

apil 11th 2012

Cruelty towards animals is the most basic example of the need for power and dominance. Human beings have long dominated animals; they can supply food, transportation, protection and manual labor. Some animal rights activists claim that any attempt to dominate an animal by a human is abuse. But when a person's need to control an animal gives way to violence, there is cause for concern. Although they vary state to state, every state has laws in place to hold people accountable for animal cruelty.

Why would anyone hurt an animal? Most people agree that cruelty to animals is unacceptable behavior. The internet is rife with shocking videos of people hitting dogs with baseball bats, kicking cats and torturing helpless birds and other small animals.

Survivors of domestic violence have often reported that their abusive partner used their pet as a tool of manipulation, threatening to harm or kill them to gain control. Although that kind of action is deplorable, there is a point where animal torture becomes a pattern that goes far beyond animal cruelty.

The Link Between Hurting Animals and Committing Violent Crime

In 1992, Jeffrey Dahmer was found guilty of 15 counts of murder and sentenced to 957 years in prison. Dahmer's crimes were shocking in nature, exceedingly brutal and horrific. In addition to murdering his victims, Dahmer tortured them in unimaginable ways and, in some cases, cannibalised them.

Dahmer openly admitted after his conviction that occurrences in his childhood — his parent's divorce and his feelings of being neglected and unloved — eventually resulted in his need to control human beings. But Dahmer's first acts of torture and murder were against animals.

According to his father Lionel Dahmer's book A Father's Story, Jeffrey dissected dead animals and sometimes displayed parts of them like trophies (p. 80). Albert DeSalvo, also known as "The Boston Strangler," admitted to trapping dogs and cats in orange crates and shooting arrows through the crates when he was a child. Brenda Spencer, a teenage girl who shot and killed two elementary school students when she opened fire on a playground, set the tails of dogs and cats on fire. She also told authorities upon her arrest that the children she shot at looked like "a herd of cows."

Hurting Animals is a Symptom of a Psychological Disorder

Does the torturing of animals always mean that the perpetrator will go on to commit horrific, violent crimes against human beings? Not necessarily. But unfortunately, crimes against animals are often overlooked or dismissed as adolescent behavior. Young people, teen and even adults who are causing unnecessary harm to animals should be evaluated for deeper psychological issues.

References:

Phillips, Rich. "Judge Allows Supervised Release for Man Charged in Cat Killings." CNN, 2009

Ramsland, Katherine. "School Killers." Tru TV Crime Library,
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Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Re: The Psychology of Animal Cruelty   Ven 12 Avr - 14:48

Published on December 11, 2012

Animal Cruelty and Antisocial Behavior: A Very Strong Link

Eleonora Gullone's book shows strong evidence links different types of abuse

by Marc Bekoff, Ph.D. in Animal Emotions

Eleonora Gullone's new book titled "Animal Cruelty, Antisocial Behaviour, and Aggression: More Than a Link", published as part of the Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series, shows that there is strong empirical evidence linking different types of abuse. For many readers of Psychology Today who want to learn more about possible links between how nonhuman animals (animals) are treated and how this relates to cruelty to humans, this is an excellent book with which to begin.

"The Link"

Eleonora Gullone is Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She brings a strong research background to the topic of her book and this is highly valuable because it allows her to analyze what we know and don't know about the relationship between animal cruelty and antisocial behavior in general. She notes that what is generally called "The Link" refers to the idea that "acts of interpersonal violence are frequently preceded by, or co-occur with, acts of cruelty to animals, 'red flag' markers that previously were ignored." (p. ix)

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Gullone's book is well-organized into ten chapters including "Historical and Current Conceptualization of Animal Cruelty", "The Development of Antisocial Behaviour", "Biological and Individual Difference Risk Factors", "Environmental Risk Factors", and "Aetiological Accounts of Animal Cruelty". In her last chapter she draws some general conclusions and highlights what is needed in future research.

One area in which much more research is needed concerns the development of animal cruelty behavior as there still is no study that has looked at its normative development. We also need more cross-cultural studies because "the conceptualization of animal cruelty as deviant ... will have varying validity, depending on that culture's animal treatment standards." (p. 131) We also need more research on animal cruelty itself and it is essential to remove the property status of animals in legal systems. Currently, animals are considered to be mere property, just like a couch, bicycle, or backpack.

Gullone argues that because animal cruelty is invariably and traditionally trumped by, but strongly linked to, human cruelty, we need to make animal cruelty more worthy of moral concern and a target of intervention so that we can learn more about the etiology of human cruelty. Thus, "By positioning acts of animal abuse within the continuum of other antisocial behaviours, rather than as isolated incidents or acceptable childhood rites of passage, we can gain more progress not only in reducing animal abuse but also in improving human safety and lowering tolerance levels for all acts of aggression." (p. x) And, there is some movement in this direction. Forty-seven of the fifty states in the U. S. A. have laws that consider certain acts of animal cruelty as felonies. Animal cruelty is also getting more attention in public media. The increasing attention is good because as Gullone notes, "many crimes against humans may well have been prevented had any animal cruelty incidents that preceded them been taken seriously." (Pp. 135-136)

All in all, Gullone's convincing case that there are strong empirical links among different types of abuse and violence, including animal cruelty, must be taken seriously. She concludes her book as follows: " ... laws should punish criminals according to the severity of the acts they perpetrate, without discrimination or favour based on the target species of the particular crime." (p. 139) On her account, because of the well-established link among different types of abuse and violence, both nonhuman and human animals will greatly benefit from intervention.

As someone coming to this field with little knowledge but with more than passing interest, I found this book to be well worth the read. It really got me thinking about how important it is that nonhuman animals be granted much more legal protection and how animal cruelty needs to be taken much more seriously than it currently is. And by doing this, both nonhuman and humans animals will greatly benefit. A win-win situation for all.
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MessageSujet: Re: The Psychology of Animal Cruelty   Ven 12 Avr - 14:49

Psychology of People Hurting Animals
Posted by Dresden Quinn Jones on Jun 22, 2009
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Tyler Hayes Weinman, 18, was charged in a Miami court with 19 counts of cruelty to animals for the murder and mutilation of neighborhood cats. On June 17, 2009, a judge agreed to his supervised release on $250,000 bail but not before making it clear that the suspect must undergo psychiatric counseling twice a week.

The judge agreed to the suspect's release because an evaluation showed that Weinman was not a danger to himself or others, according to "Judge Allows Supervised Release for Man Charged in Cat Killings". Weinman is the prime suspect in an ongoing investigation into the murder of more than 30 cats, many of which were family pets.

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At the very least, Weinman's alleged crime causes shock, sadness and rage in the Miami community. But his actions may signal something far more disturbing lurking under the surface. Experts agree that the torture and/or murder of animals may be a sign that the perpetrator could eventually turn their violent behavior towards other people.


The Psychology of Animal Cruelty

Cruelty towards animals is the most basic example of the need for power and dominance. Human beings have long dominated animals; they can supply food, transportation, protection and manual labor. Some animal rights activists claim that any attempt to dominate an animal by a human is abuse. But when a person's need to control an animal gives way to violence, there is cause for concern. Although they vary state to state, every state has laws in place to hold people accountable for animal cruelty.

Why would anyone hurt an animal? Most people agree that cruelty to animals is unacceptable behavior. The internet is rife with shocking videos of people hitting dogs with baseball bats, kicking cats and torturing helpless birds and other small animals.

Survivors of domestic violence have often reported that their abusive partner used their pet as a tool of manipulation, threatening to harm or kill them to gain control. Although that kind of action is deplorable, there is a point where animal torture becomes a pattern that goes far beyond animal cruelty.

The Link Between Hurting Animals and Committing Violent Crime

In 1992, Jeffrey Dahmer was found guilty of 15 counts of murder and sentenced to 957 years in prison. Dahmer's crimes were shocking in nature, exceedingly brutal and horrific. In addition to murdering his victims, Dahmer tortured them in unimaginable ways and, in some cases, cannibalised them.

Dahmer openly admitted after his conviction that occurrences in his childhood — his parent's divorce and his feelings of being neglected and unloved — eventually resulted in his need to control human beings. But Dahmer's first acts of torture and murder were against animals.

According to his father Lionel Dahmer's book A Father's Story, Jeffrey dissected dead animals and sometimes displayed parts of them like trophies (p. 80). Albert DeSalvo, also known as "The Boston Strangler," admitted to trapping dogs and cats in orange crates and shooting arrows through the crates when he was a child. Brenda Spencer, a teenage girl who shot and killed two elementary school students when she opened fire on a playground, set the tails of dogs and cats on fire. She also told authorities upon her arrest that the children she shot at looked like "a herd of cows."

Hurting Animals is a Symptom of a Psychological Disorder

Does the torturing of animals always mean that the perpetrator will go on to commit horrific, violent crimes against human beings? Not necessarily. But unfortunately, crimes against animals are often overlooked or dismissed as adolescent behavior. Young people, teen and even adults who are causing unnecessary harm to animals should be evaluated for deeper psychological issues.

References:

Phillips, Rich. "Judge Allows Supervised Release for Man Charged in Cat Killings." CNN, 2009

Ramsland, Katherine. "School Killers." Tru TV Crime Library,

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MessageSujet: Re: The Psychology of Animal Cruelty   Aujourd'hui à 5:33

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