Parents create Monsters

Maneka Gandhi

Maneka GandhiIn every new generation of human beings , most parents instil the fear of animals and the attitude that they are irrelevant in the general scheme of the world to their children almost as soon as they walk. Each child is born without the understanding that he is the king of the natural kingdom. He automatically loves animals. By the time he/she  is three years old , this aberration has been knocked out of him. I have seen so many parents apologise shamefacedly " My son is very peculiar , he just loves animals . In fact he cries when he sees cruelty." or " My daughter wants to bring all the hungry animals in street home. We just have to scold her all the time." A zoo is considered a natural place of entertainment to take the children so that they can sneer at the locked up creatures.
How many times have you seen a child being cruel to an animal while his parents look on fondly. Stamping on a scuttling ant , killing a lizard , hitting the family dog or throwing a stone at the mangy starved cat in the alley. So many parents buy their children airguns which are used only to wound crows and sparrows. This article is for these parents. What they are creating are monsters.
Behavioural research on thousands of people, prisons and legal cases has shown that a strong correlation exists between animal abuse in childhood and later violence to humans. Most criminals who have been violent to people share a common history of cruelty to animals.The American Humane Association has gathered years of research done by universities and psychologists all over the world . This data should alert prosecutors, judges and other societal leaders to the importance of animal cruelty as an indicator of disturbed family relationships and future antisocial behaviour. In simple terms , if your child likes killing insects and hurting dogs  boy , are you in trouble ! You are not producing an empire builder or someone who will honour your family name but someone whose future home might be Tihar.
Here are a few findings:
*Researchers Alan Felthouse and Stephen Kelert studied 1152 aggressive and non aggressive criminals. 82% had shown severe repetitive cruelty towards animals as children. The researchers suggest in their findings that a child who learns aggression against living creatures is more likely to rape, abuse and kill other humans as an adolescent and adult.
*Researchers Dr Daniel Hellman and Dr Nathan Blackman in a study of 82 prisoners noted that the 31 prisoners convicted of aggressive crimes had the same combination of bedwetting, firesetting and animal abuse. None of the prisoners of non aggressive crimes had any of the triad.
* In a study of 557 families being treated for incidents of child abuse researchers Elizabeth Deviney, Jeffrey Dickert and Randall Lockwood found that animal cruelty was " the sign of a deeply disturbed family " ( You can Say that Again. I Come across these Families all the time during Animal Rescue work- Mg). They found that that in 88% of the families where children had been physically abused, animals  had been abused first. In two thirds of the cases , the abusive parent had beaten or killed an animal to discipline the child. In one third of the cases the children were the abusers using animals as scapegoats for their anger.
*Researchers Michael Robin,Robert Bensel, Quigly and Anderson have reported their 4 year long studies that they found:
34% of delinquent adolescents had owned pets to which they were closely attached but which had been killed by a parent or guardian. 17% of delinquent adolescents who were abused children said that they had abused the animals themselves.Other studies have shown :
58 % of adult sexual homicide perpetrators ( rape and murder)  reported high rates of childhood animal cruelty.
In 60 to 80 % os families where the male parent hits the female parent there will be abuse of animals as well.
People who abuse animals rarely stop there. According to Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals , animals are abused in 88% of all families where childen are abused.
Here are some more linkages:
*Serial murderers like Jefrey Dahmer,Ted Bundy, Son of Sam David Berkowitz , the Boston Strangler Albert De Salvo and others who have been caught begun their murderous careers by serially killing animals and being allowed to do it by the families.
*Childhood animal abuse is an accurate predictor of future violence against humans. The children who turned their guns against their  fellow students and teachers in all those high profile school shootings  in MIssissippi, Kentucky,Arkansas,Oregon and Colorado  have all been found to have abused animals before killing their peers.
*A 1985 study of federal penitentiaries found that more than 50% of aggressive criminals reported at least 5 incidents of childhood cruelty to animals. Less than 6% of non aggressive criminals did so. None of the non criminals interviewed for the study reported any act of childhood cruelty to animals.
*In a 1970's study done by the FBI of multiple murderers 46% admitted to acts of animal torture as adolescents. The FBI has now officially recognised the link between cruelty towards animals and more general violence and uses it as a tool to identify suspects. A 1994 report from the FBI stated that cruelty to animals is one of the traits that regularly appeared on its computer records of serial rapists and killers. " The future killer's childhood concentration on violence will lead to an adult violence focus" is the conclusion of the report.
* A 1995 paper presented at the International Conference on Family Violence in New Hampshire reported that 71% of women seeking shelter from spousal violence reported that their male abusers had threatened, harmed or killed their pets. Of the women with children 32% reported that one of them had also committed acts of animal cruelty.
* It goes the other way as well. An analysis of animal cruelty cases in Massachusetts from 1975 to 1996 revealed that 70% of the animal abusers also had criminal records. 40% had been convicted of violent crimes.
The FBI's supervising Special Agent Allen Brantley speaking before a 1998 Congressional hearing said " Taking animal cruelty seriously offers an opportunity to intervene in violent households and with violent individuals. In many cases we have examples whereby violence against animals is a prelude to violence against humans. You can look at cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans as a continuum."
None of the statistics I refer to applies only to Americans. The only reason why I give them is because no work has been done on the same matter in India. But were it to be done it would be the same. The man who whips his bullock the whole day has little respect for his wife or children. The boy who kicks a passing animal is tomorrow's wife beater if not worse. The man who believes that all animals should be killed because he wants clean streets should examine this violence and see whom else he wants removed from his life.
Look around you and start taking notes. Do an informal survey of how many of your friends are treated cruelly. And then ask what happened to the animal first while you stood by.
And when your child first stretches its hands to hurt, maim or kill , stop it.


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previous articles...

The Business of Murder:Factory Farming and the Meat Industry in India

Effect of landscaping of birds on environment

Dangers of killing deep Sea-Sharks for  Cosmetic Products

Use of dog in diagnosis of diseases

Sacred Nature of Neelkanth

Cruelty to Polo Ponies

Self-Regulation of Population by Animals

Dangers of Animal meat eating

Arsenic poison in chicken feed

Cruelty to Animals by Govt. Vets

Worship of God with Blood and Suffering of Animals and Birds

Consequences of Chloramphenicol in Shrimp Industry

Hazards of Trade in Peacocks’ Feather

Supreme Court Ban on cruelty to Animals

Are you a Bad Pet Owner?

The Goat That Laughed and Wept

Animal Owners’ personality traits resemble their Pets’

Human Propensities of Goat

Animal sacrifice at the altar of religion

Animal as foster parent

Animal feed from rendering plant

Trade in WildLife

Human Intelligence of Birds

Human Propensities of Cow