of Childish Cruelty are Warning Sings
With companionship and love, animals
enrich our lives and enhance our mental and physical well-being. The need
to care about how animals are treated goes beyond pleasure, companionship,
Studies reveal that animal abuse
and child abuse as well as other forms of violence in society are linked.
Children who are cruel to animals are often themselves the victims/perpetrators
of abuse. A large percentage of violent criminals began by abusing animals.
Unchecked, this abuse was later turned against humans.
It's high time that sociologists, psychologists,
psychiatrists, criminologists, education authorities and ofcourse, parents,
teamed up to study the connection between cruelty to animals and social
problems. A neglected child or one with low self-esteem is likely to take
it out on those weaker than himself. He may start off as the victim himself,
probably being unloved, misunderstood or abused at home - but not necessarily
within a financially poor family because a well-off family may give their
child expensive toys but no love or proper supervision, perhaps leaving
him with a maid instead. Are his bullying tendencies against animals or
weaker children ignored as mere "mischief" which he will grow out of? How
is he being treated and how will he grow up? WHO
WILL BE HIS NEXT VICTIM?
The murder of toddler, James Bulger
of the U.K., in 1993: The more "assertive" of the two 10 yr. old murderers,
Robert Thompson, bullied not only children but also tortured or killed
stray cats and pigeons. He shot pigeons with his air gun and laughed as
he pulled off their heads. (Evening Standard, 25/11/93)
Mary Bell, guilty of murdering two children
aged 3 and 4, when she herself was only 11 yr. old was known to have delighted
in strangling pigeons. (Daily Telegraph, 26/11/93)
A study conducted by Bradford University
on 60 men - all guilty of domestic violence. All known to have killed pets
or inflicted cruelty on them. (Daily Telegraph, 25/2/93)
The British Psychological Society's
Conference was told that bullying is endemic in British schools, leading
to personality disorders and even suicide. One in every 5 children, in
primary and secondary schools, is involved in bullying, either as the bully
or the victim. Handicapped or disadvantaged children were often picked
on. (Daily Telegraph, 25/2/93)
Oprah Winfrey Show - "Are Men more Violent
than Women?" 200 men guilty of various degrees of violence were featured.
18% deliberately hurt animals. General opinion: Men are not inherently
more violent but have become aggressive due to their environment; factors
include lack of a loving childhood environment, a lack of proper discipline
and father figures.
BBC Radio Programme -"All in the Mind",
19/4/94 - discussion on aggressive childhood behaviour. Specialist visiting
a troubled family, noted the young boy throwing their kitten against the
wall. The kitten took refuge under a sofa, only to be pulled out and thrown
again. The mother merely said, "Oh it's ok, he's always doing that."
Studies have also shown that humane
education - education that helps children develop empathy respect and compassion
for animals - later generalizes into humane attitudes toward people.
Fostering positive attitudes and
behavior toward animals contributes to the development of a more humane
society and an improved quality of life for all living beings.