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The Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence
An Interview with Shannon
Yatana@aol.com

22 November 1999

Shannon: 

Do you believe there is a link between animal abuse and violence towards humans?

Frank:

Absolutely! This connection between animal and human abuse has also been confirmed by the FBI's profile on serial killers and the Purdue University study. I believe the root problem rests with our societal approach to violence. We sanitize violence, and make if socially acceptable. Hunting is a perfect example.

It also has been documented that people who work in slaughter houses also have a higher incidence of domestic violence. The military found out the same thing. Violence of any kind hardens our heart to feel the pain of all other beings whether human or non-human.

Shannon:

Do you think animal abuse is also related to other forms of anti-social behavior?

Frank:

Yes, I do.

Shannon:

If so, which ones?

Frank:

In this reference, I believe that anti-social behavior all too often leads to violence. The pent-up frustrations of an individual seek a release. Sometimes it's in the form of suicide (violence against self). Sometimes it takes the form of animal abuse which can easily escalate to human abuse (the profile of a serial killer).

There is also an interesting correlation between those who commit rape and those who abuse animals. These people are usually cowards, and seek to achieve a form of importance by having a form of "power" over someone who is weaker than they are. In the case of an animal abuser, the animals cannot speak, and thus cannot tell who abused them.

Shannon:

Is animal abuse by children a sign of later criminal behavior?

Frank:

I believe so, and the FBI and Purdue studies confirm this. However, not all childhood animal abusers become criminals in other areas, because they either out grow such anti-social behavior, or because they are afraid of being caught. Animal abuse is a safer form of violent behavioral release.

Shannon:

Could animal abuse by children be a passing phase or confusion?

Frank:

As I mentioned above, in some children this may be a passing phase, but I doubt that it is really a form of confusion. The child knows what he or she is doing.

Shannon:

Do you believe that early intervention can prevent future crimes? Do you believe humane education can accomplish this?

Frank:

I believe the problem is more in the area of the need for an over-all sensitivity training. In Romans 8:18-25 Paul speaks of the whole of creation groaning and anxiously awaiting the sons of God, and Jesus says in Matthew 5:9 that such people are the peace makers. Until we learn to respect the whole of God's creation (humans, non-humans, and the environment), and truly feel the pain and suffering to which we've subjected it, and do something to correct the situation, we will not permanently change an individual or society as a whole. Such a person may learn not to behave in a certain unacceptable manner, but the root cause can still remain.

Shannon:

Do you believe that there is sometimes a connection between animal abuse and domestic violence? 

Frank:

As I mentioned above, the connection between slaughterhouse worker and domestic violence is a perfect example. Violent behavior in one area of a person's life usually expands itself to other areas, too.

Shannon:

Do women and children sometimes avoid reporting domestic abuse for fear that their pets will be abused? 

Frank:

This may be the case sometimes, but usually the reason is fear in general, with the victim believing that the violence directed toward them is partly or wholly their own fault. Domestic violence is a form of intimidation. The killing or hurting of a loved animal companion can also be a form of abusing the person. And since abusers are sadistic, they usually will do anything they can to hurt the other person.

Shannon:

Do you believe that children who witness abuse are more likely to abuse animals or worse? 

Frank:

Yes, I do; but I also believe that other forms of witnessed violence can have the same result.

Shannon:

Do you believe punishment for animal abusers is appropriate? 

Frank:

Punishment only serves to suppress the root cause of the violence. The only permanent "fix" is to change the person's attitude and sensitivities, and this requires rehabilitation, and a desire on the abuser's part to change.

Shannon:

Do you believe that more of a strict punishment could prevent future crimes?  

Frank:

Yes, but only because it removes the person from society. It still doesn't solve the real root problem of the way we sanitize violence in our society.

Shannon:

Do you believe that this link needs to be taken more seriously by police, judges, and governments? 

Frank:

Yes, I do; but things are beginning to change in this area, particularly as a result of the FBI study. The problem is that many people in positions of responsibility are also abusers, even if only in socially acceptable areas.

Shannon:

Do you think that veterinarians could play a key role in the intervention of animal abuse and domestic abuse? 

Frank:

I think they could, but for the most part they won't, because a major part of their business in many areas is related to the farm animals who are also abused. If they fight too hard, they could put themselves out of business. A perfect example of this was the recent attempt of many caring people to get the national association to make a positive stand against the forced molting of chickens (a form of abuse-starvation), but they only offered a watered-down version that would have little or no effect in making a change.

Shannon:

Should animal abuse and domestic abuse organizations work together to help intervene in violent situations and draw attention to the link? 

Frank:

Absolutely!

Shannon:

Do you believe this link is starting to get the attention it needs? 

Frank:

It's starting, but we still have a long way to go, because we only selectively choose the areas in which we are willing to be compassionate.

Shannon:

What can average people do to help prevent abuse? 

Frank:

Let their voices be heard. Speak for those who can't speak for themselves. Write letters to companies, institutions, legislators, and the newspapers.

Shannon:

Thank you so much for your time in answering this interview!

Frank:

You're very welcome! I would appreciate seeing a copy of your final work and perhaps publishing it on our web site.


Your comments are welcome flh@all-creatures.org

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