The conceptual link between violence against animals and violence against humans has been present at the edges of thought for centuries. For example, philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) argued that humans should avoid being cruel to animals as this action could lead to cruelty directed at humans. The recognition of the vulnerability of both children and animals to mistreatment was seen in the now famous 1874 case of Mary Ellen Wilson, an abused and neglected child, whose protection was facilitated by Henry Bergh, the founder of the American Society for the Protection of Animals. While research into the violence link began to generate more interest in the 1970s with the connection between serial murderers and early animal cruelty, the interconnection of violence has long been known. Awareness of the prevalence of intersecting violence has grown over the past decades, and research in this area now encompasses a range of interpersonal and interspecies violence, including domestic violence, sexualized violence, and general criminality.
This presentation will provide a foundation for the violence link for those who are new to the concept, explore and critique predominant theories around the intersection of violence against animals and humans, and discuss the latest updates in violence link research. The presentation will also highlight recent positive policy changes aimed at addressing the violence link, and will conclude with identifying clear directions for future research and policy.
- To provide a strong introduction to the concept of the violence link
- To address the current research on the violence link, including critiques and needed research
- To highlight the recent positive policy changes, and suggestions for future policy directions