Nothing but contempt for bullies who are cruel to animals
I SHARE the widespread anger and indignation felt by all right minded people relating to the three criminals recently convicted of animal cruelty offences.
However, there are several important issues which have not been addressed.
Firstly, it is not only a matter of inadequate sentencing, but the variation in punishments throughout England and Wales.
What could result in a mere fine or community service order in one area, could be a custodial sentence (however short) in another.
The Animal Welfare Act 2004 has stronger penalties than previous legislation, but nowhere has there been an appropriately severe custodial sentence which reflects the horrendous nature of some offences e.g deliberately starving to death, burning, and torturing animals.
Until such time that we recognise and acknowledge the fact that acid poured on a kitten is as agonising for it as it would be for us, this situation will remain.
Secondly, the extent to which these offences are being committed is on the increase.
However, these are only the ones formally reported.
The RSPCA does a wonderful job, but have under 300 inspectors for the entire country, and it is expensive to bring prosecutions to court. The police are also stretched, and because of the point made above do not always give wildlife and animal cruelty crimes the importance they deserve in terms of resources allocated for detection and apprehension of offenders.
Thirdly, it is not surprising that sadistic behaviour towards animals should indicate cause for concern in other areas.
One of my post graduate students is currently researching animal cruelty and statutory protection issues, and along with original research, he is collating studies on the positive correlation between those who have mistreated and tortured animals and who have subsequently gone on to commit similar physical abuse offences against weak or vulnerable human beings (usually, but not exclusively, children).
In academic studies I have to be as objective I can, but as an animal lover – and a human being – I have nothing but contempt for these bullies who should be shunned as social pariahs.
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