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Risk factors for the development of animal cruelty

By E. Gullone

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Research shows that animal cruelty shares many of the aetiological pathways and risk factors that have been shown for other aggressive behaviors. The shared aetiology not only aids understanding of the co-occurrence that has been documented between animal cruelty and other aggressive and antisocial crimes, it also highlights the dangers over and above those to animals that are lurking where animal cruelty offenders remain unidentified and their crimes remain unsanctioned. This article reviews current understandings about the development of antisocial behaviors, including human aggression, and animal cruelty behaviors. Available research leads one to ask, when individuals have been found to be guilty of animal cruelty, what other aggressive behaviors might they be guilty of? For young children, one must ask, are they victims of child abuse, are they living in circumstances of domestic violence, and/or what is the aggression or violence that they may have been witness to? Animal cruelty, and most aggressive behaviors from the later childhood years onward, are indicators of non-normative development. Early detection of such behaviors can provide a valuable opportunity to engage in preventative intervention for young people or for appropriate sanctions to be applied for adults. Such interventions would be beneficial for all, humans and animals alike.

Publication Title Journal of Animal Ethics
Volume 4
Issue 2
Pages 61-79
ISBN/ISSN 2156-5414
Publisher University of Illinois Press
Language English
Author Address Monash University, Victoria, Australia.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Abuse
  2. Aggressive behavior
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Etiology
  5. peer-reviewed
  6. risk factors
  1. peer-reviewed