Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week is April 15th to April 21st this year. It is fitting that we observe these two causes during the same week. Animal Cruelty cannot exist without Human Violence and we need more awareness.
Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week is a Week of Human Reflection.
I believe Animal Cruelty/Human Violence are parasitic at best.
Animal cruelty does not exist without the element of Human Violence and the two separate organisms feed off of each other.
The majority of the specialists in the field of human behavior agree that violence against animals is the gateway to increased violence towards humans.
Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week Shine a light on the Correlation Between the two.
“One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it,” stated Anthropologist Margaret Mead.
In fact, cruelty to animals is one of the precursors of a serial killer according to FBI profilers.
However, this is by no means is a way to determine if a person will become a killer, but merely an acknowledgment that a correlation exists.
Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Go Hand in Hand.
The correlation between animal cruelty/human violence was not always the accepted belief.
Even today’s specialists are not in total agreement, but most accept this theory.
The need for awareness goes far beyond just saving the lives of animals. We as a race must come to an agreement that violence of any kind is not acceptable.
Cruelty and Violence are not the Accepted Norm.
This week is about increasing the public’s awareness of the animal cruelty problem and its link to domestic violence.
Therefore, it goes without saying that this week is also about safety.
We all want to feel and be safe. This includes our families, friends, and pets.
Can Cruelty to Animals Exist without the Human Element?
Let us not kid ourselves, cruelty to animals does not exist without the Human Element.
That is the sad reality, but stopping cruelty to animals cannot happen without the human element either.
So, in this instance, Humans are both the solution and the problem.
Has Animal Cruelty become the New American Pastime?
It is time to recognize the connection between cruelty to animals and violence toward people.
The reemergence of Dog Fighting as a whole is a strong indication that we need more awareness.
Even though Dog Fighting is illegal in all 50 states, it still continues to grow in popularity.
The Focus Should be on the Violence no Matter Whom it’s Aimed at.
So much so, that many consider this phenomenon an epidemic and have implemented Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) accordingly.
However, BSL and other similar laws have proven ineffective at best.
In addition, these same forms of legislation have been deemed the problem rather than the solution.
The Best Solutions Focuses on the Source of a Problem.
The source of all violence is us as a species.
Whether it is domestic or foreign violence or cruelty to an animal, Humans are at the center of it all.
There are decades upon decades of research on the subject of Human behavior as it pertains to violence. Sadly, we are no closer to discovering the, “why.”
All Lives Matter and this Includes the Lives of Animals.
There are many who deliberately hurt animals and believe that it is okay.
In spite of the fact that animal abuse is a crime in every state. However, thanks to a change in federal classification, it is now an elevated federal offense.
Even with these much-needed changes, not everyone takes animal abuse seriously and most just look the other way.
Like it or not, the Facts Paint a Truthful Picture.
Some are even under the impression that because someone owns a dog, then they have the right to abuse it.
First of all, this is simply not the case. Secondly, they are still inflicting harm on another living being.
Also, you should keep in mind, what this type of violence can and usually leads to.
A Closer Look at What Violence Toward Animals Means.
There is evidence showing people who abuse animals are more likely to also be violent in their human relationships.
Also, it is reported that children who abuse animals are more likely to have conduct disorders as well.
There is also a correlation between these behaviors and an escalation to other violent behaviors. In addition, it should be noted that school shooters often have a history of animal cruelty.
A Scientific Look into Violence.
A Massachusetts study was conducted using 153 people arrested on animal cruelty charges.
After arresting these animal abusers, it was discovered that 107 of the 153 had prior offenses within the past 10 years.
That is equivalent to 70%. Many believe this to be a microcosm of our present-day society.
Breakdown of Other Crimes Committed within 10 years of their Animal Cruelty Arrests.
· 38% of the 153 were arrested for violent crimes.
· 44% of the 153 were arrested for property crimes.
· 37% of the 153 were arrested for drug offenses.
· 37% of the 153 were arrested for disorder offenses.
Other Studies Paint an Eerily Similar Picture of Violent Behavior.
The Chicago Police Department examined the arrest records of 332 people who they had arrested for animal cruelty and found the following.
· 70% of suspects had arrests for other felonies and this includes two homicides.
· 86% had multiple arrests.
· 70% had narcotics arrests of which 68% were for sales or trafficking.
· Another 65% have arrests for battery-related violent offenses.
· 27% also has arrests for firearms violations.
· 13% were for sex crimes.
· 59% were actual gang members.
A Correlation between Animal Cruelty and Human Behavior.
In an ongoing study, approximately 75 % of domestic violence victims report that their partners threatened or killed family pets.
A New Jersey study reports that animal abuse has occurred in 88% of homes under investigation for physical child abuse.
In addition, please note that Domestic batterers who harm animals are more dangerous.
The Correlation between Animal Cruelty and Human Behavior Continues.
Also, these same individuals are known to be more violent to their human victims than batterers who do not abuse animals.
In another study conducted on battered women in several northeastern states provided similar if not the same conclusion.
Also, 48 % of respondents report that animal abuse had occurred “often” during the past 12 months.
Are these Results a Microcosm of Society or an Unsubstantiated Anomaly?
Another 51 percent reported that animal abuse incidents coincided with violent outbursts against human family members.
There is also a belief that children with exposure to domestic violence are three times more likely to be cruel to animals than children living in nonviolent households.
This data not only shows a clear pattern of the suspected correlation but a vicious cycle as well.
The Correlation Between Animal Cruelty and Mass Murderers or Serial Killers.
Ever since the advent of FBI profilers, there has been a believed correlation between animal cruelty and Serial Killers.
We see this correlation in the collected data and we see it portrayed religiously in movies and Television series.
There almost seems to be an unhealthy admiration on the subject, a sort of morbid curiosity.
The Perceived Reason for Animal Cruelty.
The Serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and David Berkowitz each took pleasure in the torture and killing of animals as children.
Also, 36% of Serial Killers admit to committing acts of animal cruelty as children.
Another 46% admit to committing acts of animal cruelty as adolescents.
Are We Any Closer to Finding Out Why?
While 36% also admitted to committing animal cruelty as adults.
These are indeed some disturbing findings and yet, even with this data, there is no conclusive evidence as to why.
However, there are theories that may explain the why, but this may only explain why some commit such acts of violence towards defenseless animals.
A Theoretical Perceptive on the Subject of Animal Cruelty.
The reason why any perceived theory of why certain people commit acts of violence against animals will always be partly true if at all, “flawed logic.”
Flawed Logic is as follows. “All A’s are B’s does not mean that all B’s are A’s.”
Here is a working example. Let’s say A = Women and B = Human. So, it would look like this. All Women are Human, but all Humans are not Women.
One Size Still does not Fit All.
However, if I had to hang my hat on one possible explanation for the acts of violence it would be the Social Learning Theory.
According to this perspective, every individual is socialized to seek affection and approval from those they love.
When that approval is met, both parties feel satisfied with the outcome.
A Theory that May Shine Some Light on the Reasons for Violence.
However, if a successful resolution is not made by the acting parties, it produces frustration for those seeking approval and satisfaction.
The frustrated individuals transfer anger to people who cannot retaliate.
In the case of serial murderers, the individuals who first cause the frustration hold a certain degree of control that inhibits them from retaliating against them (Hale, 1993).
Can You Dispute a Sound Theory?
Therefore, the frustrated individuals vent their anger on weaker creatures.
Taking this theory at face value will not satiate your full curiosity.
However, it isn’t until you pair this theory with Abram Amsel’s theory of frustration that you fully understand the scope of the forces at work.
Awareness Leads to Understanding and Possibly a Solution.
Amsel’s (1958) frustration theory helps to adequately understand the scope of the frustration experienced by these potential killers.
According to the frustration theory, individuals who suffer a form of humiliation later associate certain situations with the humiliation.
A singular and original humiliation spawns a Frustration Response.
The Correlation Appears to be real.
In turn, the situations associated with the humiliation also produce anticipatory frustration responses.
Those responses motivate individuals to avoid potentially humiliating situations, even to the point of violence.
The individuals act prematurely in anticipation of a perceived humiliating situation.
More Perceived Reasons for Acts of Animal Cruelty.
An important aspect of the frustration and humiliation response theories is the manner in which the aggressors restore their dignity.
The majority of these humiliated individuals take out their frustration on weaker creatures and this includes animals.
This display of aggression is a method of venting and restoring confidence within themselves.
Learning the Why of Violence Will Save Lives.
Although the source of the humiliation may still be present in the individual’s lives, the aggressive behavior toward animals continues.
In turn, increasing the likelihood of graduating to humans to fulfill their need for retribution.
The graduation hypothesis, although still a hypothesis, ultimately affects the way people view animal cruelty.
Is There a Way to Predict Violence?
Under the graduation hypothesis, animal abusers later progress, or graduate, to more serious forms of violence against humans (Arluke & Levin, 1999).
The previously reviewed theories offer sound and logical evidence for the correlation between animal cruelty and human behavior.
However, like all theories, there will always be someone who does not agree.
Ways to Observe Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week.
One of the best things you can do is to help spread awareness of the correlation between Animal Cruelty and Human Violence.
It is surprising that so few people associate these two acts of violence.
In my experience, very few people take animal cruelty seriously.
We Can Do Our Part by Spreading Awareness.
Another way to observe this week is to use your social media platform to help spread the word. It may not seem like much, but every little bit helps.
However, I believe the best way to contribute, is to report animal cruelty and abuse when you see it.
I realize that this may not be an easy thing to ask of you, but seldom is anything worthwhile easy.
Be a Hero and Report Violence and Abuse.
Your actions could save the life of an animal or someone close to you.
It will take our collective voices to end the cycle of violence.
Finally, remember to look for the warning signs of abuse or violence, it may save a life.