- Toshita Khatri
We live in a world that not only turns a blind eye to animal cruelty but simply disregards it – be it through legislation or with indifference. Videos of animal abuse are not uncommon to pop up on social media. We all know that animal cruelty is wrong. But we do not know what typically possesses anyone to inflict such acts of brutality on innocent animals intentionally.
The acts of cruelty to animals are not mere indications of a minor personality flaw in the abusers, they are symptomatic of a deep mental disturbance. There are people, who deliberately inflict pain on animals and take pleasure from it. This sort of behaviour is called zoosadism. These types of individuals either have serious psychological disorders such as anti-social/psychopathic personality disorders or they have sexually paraphilic disorders such as crush fetishism in which small animals are crushed for sexual pleasure.
Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals don’t stop there and many of them move on to their fellow humans. Murderers very often start out by killing and torturing animals as kids. Altogether 100 per cent of sexual homicide offenders examined had a history of animal cruelty. Fascination with cruelty to animals is a red flag in the backgrounds of serial killers and rapists. These are the kids who never learned it’s wrong to poke out a puppy’s eyes.
Videos of animal abuse are not uncommon to pop up on social media. We all know that animal cruelty is wrong. But we do not know what typically possesses anyone to inflict such acts of brutality on innocent animals intentionally.
In a case of extreme brutality, recently a violently disturbing video went viral on the internet where an Indian woman brutally crushed an innocent puppy with her feet. It is unconscionable to think that any human being could possibly bring themselves to such acts upon an animal. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of cases go unreported every single day. There’s no monetary gain, just a brief sense of satisfaction that comes from dominating another creature. It’s horrific, but it happens.
Under all the viral animal abuse videos, almost unfailingly, there are comments that ask, “How would you feel if someone did that to you?” But culprits don’t have any sense of guilt, let alone burden their conscience. The reason behind this is often a complete and utter lack of empathy.
What makes these videos truly unsettling is that abusers are simply amused by the idea of abusing a defenseless victim. Because abusers target the powerless, their violence is directed at the only individual in the family who is more vulnerable and weaker, and often that’s an animal. It’s a matter of power.
This inability to understand another being’s pain isn’t simply a personality quirk that can be overlooked. After all, if a person is incapable of feeling the pain and suffering brought upon an innocent animal by their actions, or even simply understanding the consequences of their senselessness, would it really be a surprise if they exhibit the same level of apathy towards people?
While it would be ridiculous to assume every person who kicks a dog has immediate potential to become a murderer, it must be kept in mind that their acts are hinting at a shortfall in their emotional balance.