In Your Name – The Bacon Roll too Irresistible to Care?

The video footage from the English abattoir showing slaughtermen burning pigs with cigarettes and generally abusing them is shocking, for most of us I imagine. But then, there are you who just cannot do without your bacon roll, can you? So you won’t watch the images, for long, or you’ll shrug your shoulders and won’t care how you get your food – just as long as you get it.

But cruelty to animals can mean more than pain and distress for a sentient being unable to defend itself. People who are capable of being so nasty, so violent don’t always stop at animals.

Various research has linked cruelty to animals with violence against people (and a tendency to commit other crimes). It should come as no surprise that few poets find work within slaughter houses. The ability and willingness to kill animals must appeal to a certain type of human being, and sensitivity to suffering would not feature on any job description for the work.

Domestic abuse: attacks on spouses, the elderly and children have been traced to mistreatment of animals by the perpetrators.

“Abusing an animal is a way for a human to find power/joy/fulfilment through the torture of a victim they know cannot defend itself.” (American Psychiatric Association)

Of course there is no automatic jump between animal cruelty and other types of abuse but the gratification that the act of cruelty gives the perpetrator is similar to that of the bully and of a rapist – total power to inflict pain, terror, mutilation and humiliation ( in the case of people).

Why would a person hit, kick, burn, torture a defenceless person or animal? It may the perpetrator has himself been the victim of abuse but then when that person becomes an adult free-will and responsibility should prevent the continuation of the behaviour, unless there are mental health issues – and then that problem should be tackled.

There are notable examples of psychotic killers in America, such as the Columbine High School killers, who ‘worked up’ to killing humans through long and sustained cruelty to animals. Many are included in research into the impact of cruelty to animals and subsequent cruelty and execution of people.

There is increasing research and clinical
evidence which suggests that there are
sometimes inter-relationships, commonly
referred to as ‘links’, between the abuse
of children, vulnerable adults and animals.
A better understanding of these links can
help to protect victims, both human and
animal, and promote their welfare.

What are the links?
The research evidence
Evidence of the links between child abuse,
animal abuse and domestic violence is
drawn mainly from studies in the USA, which
relate to cases of serious abuse. There is a
growing research base in the United
Kingdom. Key findings include:
If a child is cruel to animals this may be
an indicator that serious neglect and
abuse have been inflicted on the child.
While recent research in the UK
suggests that animal abuse by children is
quite widespread, in a minority of more
extreme cases it appears to be
associated with abuse of the child, or
subsequent abusive behaviour by the

Sustained childhood cruelty to animals
has been linked to an increased
likelihood of violent offending behaviour
against humans in adulthood.

If a child exhibits extreme aggressive or
sexualised behaviour toward animals this
may in some cases be associated with
later abuse of other children or
vulnerable adults unless the behaviour is
recognised and treated.

From these and other studies it appears that
animal abuse can be a part of a constellation
of family violence, which can include child
abuse and domestic violence. However, this
does not imply that children who are cruel to
animals necessarily go on to be violent
adults and adults who harm animals are not
necessarily also violent to their partners
and/or children. Investigation and/or
assessment are key to determining whether
there are any links between these factors
and the possible risks to the safety and
welfare of children, adults and animals.

(NSPCC leaflet)…/understandingthelinks_wdf48177.pdf

Battered Women’s Reports of Their Partners’
and Their Children’s Cruelty to Animals
By Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D,
Utah State University, Logan, Utah
Originally published in Journal of Emotional Abuse, Vol. 1(1) 1998
ABSTRACT. Anecdotal reports of cruelty to pet animals in families where partner battering occurs are common but there exist few empirical data on this issue. Determining the forms and prevalence of such cruelty is important since abuse of pets may be a method batterers use to control their partners, may be related to batterers’ lethality, and may result in children in such families being exposed to multiple forms of violence, a significant risk for mental health problems. Thirty-eight women seeking shelter at a safe house for battered partners voluntarily completed surveys about pet ownership and violence to pets. Of the women reporting current or past pet ownership, 71% reported that their partner had threatened and/or actually hurt or killed one or more of their pets. Actual (as distinct from threatened) harm to pets represented the majority (57%) of reports. Fifty-eight percent of the full sample of women had children and 32% of these women reported that one or more of their children had hurt or killed pet animals; in 71% of these cases, the women had also reported animal abuse (threatened or actual) by their partner. This study represents one of the first empirical analyses of the prevalence of animal maltreatment in a sample of battered women. The high prevalence rate of batterers’ threatened or actual harm of animals and the relatively high rate of animal abuse reported for the children in this sample are relevant for future research and policy analyses.

Battered Women’s Reports of Their Partners’ and Their Children’s Cruelty to Animals

Oh, and free-will covers the choice you make about how much cruelty you are happy to accept as the price for your food.

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