Animal Abuse and Serial Killers

Animal Abuse and Serial Killers

More and more, the public is becoming aware of the fact that criminals convicted of child and domestic abuse often abuse animals as well, even using the abuse and killing of animals to further their control over human victims. This same pattern is echoed in serial killers, perpetrators of school shootings and mass murderers. Infamous serial killers including Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz, also known as the “Son of Sam” killer, cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer, and Albert “the Boston Strangler” DeSalvo, all engaged in animal cruelty earlier in their lives.

Since 2013, there have been at least 159 school shootings in the US, a chilling average of nearly one each week. Many of the perpetrators of these shootings share a common history: the torture and killing of animals prior to their crimes against humans. We cannot regard violence toward animals and humans as separate horrors when evidence so strongly suggests that they stem from the same root cause. Counselors at federal prisons evaluating inmates for levels of aggression found that 70% of the most violent prisoners had histories of serious and repeated animal abuse. In the case of systemic animal abuse stemming from agriculture all the way to vivisection, the abuse of animals is inextricable from the abuse of humans. The same rings true in the case of violent killers.

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Animal Abuse = Human Abuse

Why is making the connection important?

As animal advocates, we are often met with the claim that our advocacy for animals is somehow less important because human suffering is a priority. We won’t address the hypocrisy of this claim here. However, by clearly illustrating the connection of how animal abuse also leads to human abuse, this not only counteracts this quick dismissal of animal suffering, but it can also make our message easier for others to relate to from a human rights perspective.

This is the eighth release of our new series “Animal Abuse = Human Abuse” designed to help expand the reach of our advocacy for animals to new audiences.