Cruelty to an animal, or mistreatment of an animal, is the act of a human being causing an animal, to be subjected to an act intended to cause it harm. Whether they are wild, domestic, tamed or held in captivity.
Cruelty to an animal is often divided into two main categories: active and passive.
The active form is a form of beating of all kinds directly inflicted on an animal. While passive cruelty is a state of neglect, in which a lack of action is more fatal than the action itself.
Active cruelty refers to the intentional and direct wounding and suffering of an animal.
But animal abuse can also occur in more official settings such as:
- Scientific research involving the vivisection of animals, also known as animal experimentation,
- Cosmetics with the use of animals for the composition of certain products or to test these products.
- Textiles that use animals for their fur and where the context of killing the animal is often contested.
The researchers based themselves on the animal’s five freedoms. They have to not be hungry or thirsty, not to be uncomfortable, not to suffer pain, injury or disease, not to be able to express natural behavior for their species and not to experience fear or distress.
Several forms of abuse exist
- Abuse related to entertainment and entertainment: bullfighting, animal fighting, circus, equestrian sport.
- Abuse related to farming and slaughter conditions. For instance industrial breeding, animal identification, removal of limbs or organs, forced force-feeding and so on.
- Abuse related to medical research:
- Abuse related to capture techniques
- War-related abuse
- Culturally-related abuse
- Tourism-related abuse
- Film and television-related abuse
- Sexual abuse
It is prohibited to mistreat domestic animals and wild animals tamed or held in captivity. Several criminal sanctions are provided for in the event of ill-treatment, abandonment, serious abuse and attacks on the life or integrity of the animal. It goes without saying that the owner is required to feed and care for his animal.
Causes of animal abuse
One of the best-known signs of psychopathology, which includes antisocial personality disorder, has in its history a behaviour known as zoosadism, it concerns the torture of animals. A study on patients who have previously tortured dogs and cats shows a high level of aggressiveness towards individuals.
Robert K. Ressler, a police officer and the FBI’s forensic team have studied serial murder cases. He noticed that “murderers like him (Jeffrey Dahmer) start killing and torturing animals when they are children”.
Studies have shown that animal cruelty is a common (but not universal) behaviour among children and adolescents who grow up to become murderers or other criminals of violent behaviour.
It was also found that children who martyred an animal were reported to have witnessed or been abused themselves.
In two cases of studies, conducted by the Humane Society of the United States, about one-third of families affected by domestic violence reportedly have at least one child who injured or killed an animal. Cruelty to an animal is also used as intimidation in domestic violence.