Cruelty to animals leads to violence against people

Time and time again, we learn that individuals who have committed violent acts against others—whether it be a spouse, a parent, or the 21 schoolchildren and teachers gunned down this year in Uvalde, Texas—also have a history of abusing animals. The mass murderer in Uvalde committed animal abuse and displayed videos of the cruelty to users on a social media platform, and he boasted about how he did it “all the time.”

Unfortunately this is part of a pattern. For example, Payton Gendron, who committed the May 14 racially-motivated mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket that left 10 Black people dead, posted videos showing his abuse of animals.

According to the FBI, research shows a well-documented link between cruelty to animals and violence against humans (including intimate partners, children, and elders) and is associated with other types of violent offenses. Further, animal cruelty is even a better predictor of sexual abuse than a history of homicide, arson, or weapon convictions.

We shudder to think what this means when it comes to farm animals. Think of all the videos that have emerged in recent years of farm workers abusing animals, and then think of all the abuse that happens when no-one is there to video it.

The vast majority of animal cruelty happens to animals on factory farms. Don’t be fooled by the occasional cow in a pasture – 99% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms. A factory farm is a large, industrial operation that raises large numbers of animals for food. They focus on profit and efficiency at the expense of animal welfare, which unfortunately results in extremely harsh conditions and greatly increased suffering for billions of farm animals.

Cruelty to animals isn’t just bad for the animals, it all too often comes back to haunt us as cruelty to people. This is yet another reason to follow a plant based diet, for the sake of both human and animal alike.