Saturday, January 28, 2006

I recently read Diet of a New America (after reading food revolution-yes backwards) and while i was aware of lot of the issues I did learn some things, and I was also reminded of a post that i've been wanting to write for a very long time.

The relationship between Animal abuse and violence/domestic abuse.

From Diet of a New America:

The way we treat animals is indicative of the way we treat humans. One Soviet study, published in Ogonyok, found that over 87% of violent criminals had, as children, burned, hanged, or stabbed domestic animals. In our own country (US), a major study by DR. Stephen Kellert of Yale University found that children who abuse animals have a much higher likelihood of becoming violent criminals.

This is certainly not new, and the not the only place written about the subject.

There is more on domestic abuse and animal abuse including a National Survey of Shelters for Women Who Are Battered which revealed:

One of the questions we asked was, "Do women who come into your shelter talk about incidents of pet abuse?" An affirmative response was given by 85.4% of the shelters. In response to the question, "Do children who come in to your shelter talk about incidents of pet abuse?" 63% of the 46 shelters that completed this item said "Yes."

So what is exactly is the link between the two, the American Humane factsheet suggests:

A correlation between animal abuse, family violence, and other forms of community violence has been established. Child and animal protection professionals have recognized this Link, noting that abuse of both children and animals is connected in a self-perpetuating cycle of violence. When animals in a home are abused or neglected, it is a warning sign that others in the household may not be safe. In addition, children who witness animal abuse are at a greater risk of becoming abusers themselves.

I strongly recommend browsing through
Animal Abuse and domestic Violence Resources
which lists quite a few useful links including the national survey of shelters and the factsheet (above).

What surprised me even more though was the next part in Diet For a New America:

But these attitudes can be reversed, even in criminals. Heartwarming research has been done in which convicss nearing their release dates were allowed to have pets in their cells with them. The result? "Of the men who loved and cared for their cats, not a single one later failed as a free man to adjust to society. This in a penal system where over 70% of released convicts are expected to return to jail.

Someone once told me i should pick one issue I cared about rather than concerning myself with so many (animals rights, the environment, womens rights, humans rights etc etc). And as I told him back: they are they are all interconnected!


tekanji said...

Interesting stuff, though the connection was pretty clear to me, too.

I'm not so convinced on the miraculous healing powers of having a pet in a cell, however. I'd have to know what kind of long-term monitoring was done on the released men, the progression of treatment for the pet (I'd hate to think they just threw it in there and let the prisoner do what he wanted with it), etc. Especially in cases of DV, not returning to jail isn't a good indicator that the abuser has reformed.

kristy said...

I think the key thing is those who looked after the pets well.

Which makes me think that there was others who had pets that didn't treat them well.

yes its not a guarantee but still promising considering the high rates of reoffending.