Cruelty is a characteristic that is present in many human beings and may sometimes be reflected in the way some people treat their pets or the animals with which they have contact. Although it is a sad and frustrating fact, animal abuse is still very much in vogue in our society and we do not always realize the amount of violence that some animals experience daily.
When we think of animal abuse, we immediately imagine people hitting or yelling violently at their pets, without feeling or scruples, however… How exactly does a person who is cruel to animals behave? We will create a psychological profile of a person who is cruel to animals. In this way, you will be able to identify this type of person and thus prevent them from showing cruelty to animals.
Why do people mistreat animals? Characteristics of people who are cruel to animals
As a first step, it is necessary to define what animal abuse is. This phenomenon is characterized by being a deliberate act of cruelty, violence, or abandonment towards an animal, whether wild, companion or stray.
Although most of us openly condemn this type of activity, there are many ways in which animals are abused in our societies. One clear example of what societal animal torture is is the torture spectacle of bullfighting or the way animals are raised in pet stores. However, with the advances in our societies, we are increasingly leaving these practices behind.
What is it like to be an animal abuser? What does he or she think about when he or she hurts them? In the rest of this article Cruelty to Animals: Psychology, we will provide you with a psychological profile that will allow you to shed light on these practices.
The personality of a person who is cruel to animals
Many researchers have tried to discover personality traits that are characteristic of this type of person. However, there are cultural and geographic variables that influence the normalization of this type of behavior. But the main characteristics that are shared by these individuals are :
Aggressiveness: an aggressive person has a natural tendency to respond violently to stimuli around him, in this case, if he is angry or frustrated with an animal, he will not hesitate for a second to use violence against it.
Impulsivity: Acts of abuse and violence, whether perpetrated against an animal or another person, are directly related to poor control of our actions. Being impulsive means not thinking before acting, which implies getting angry without really thinking about whether the other person is suffering or not.
Low emotional intelligence: One of the most characteristic traits of emotional intelligence is empathy. This characteristic is defined as the ability to sense and identify the emotional states of others. If a person does not realize that they are harming an animal, they will have difficulty controlling their actions towards it.
Need for power: Violence is often used to maintain a situation of power. When an animal (often a pet) does not obey, a person who is cruel to animals will end up being violent towards it to show his superiority.
Selfishness: when a person thinks only of his interest, he may end up being violent for the sole purpose of getting something. For the same reason, a person who mistreats animals will tend to be selfish.
Provocative personality: Individuals who act against the law and feel a certain excitement by not respecting order may end up developing behaviors by which they will abuse animals. This behavior is because they ignore and constantly defy the well-being of those around them.
Now you know the typical psychological profile of people who abuse animals but… Is there a relationship between animal abuse and psychopathy?
Correlation between animal abuse and psychopathy
The psychological profile of a person who is cruel to animals may be closely related to mental illness. Psychological pathologies seriously affect our ability to feel, reason, and some personality disorders can induce animal abuse.
A psychopath is a person who has great difficulty understanding the suffering of others. If an act of violence towards another person allows him to obtain any benefit (for example, to let off steam from a bad day by hitting his pet) he will not hesitate to do so. It is for this reason that many psychopaths may end up abusing animals, however, it is necessary to emphasize that not all people who are cruel to animals are necessarily psychopaths.
Even though some mental disorders can turn into violent acts, animal abuse is a phenomenon that is influenced by many factors: social, emotional, environmental… For example, if in your family you were taught to hit your pet, it is more than likely that you will repeat this type of behavior later. It is important to be able to identify this phenomenon in your actions as well as in those of others. That way, it can be identified and corrected.
Finally, we would like to point out that it is especially important to be careful with children who abuse animals. Although it can be seen as a way of “exploring” or knowing the limits of animal tolerance, this behavior can also reveal an emerging form of abuse that serves as a kind of preparation for physical violence.
It is important for a child who abuses animals to go to a psychologist, as there is an infinite number of causes that can lead to this situation, such as the fact that the minor is being abused, and it is fundamental to identify these causes to avoid these aggressive behaviors that could end up damaging the lives of your pets.
What to do in a situation of animal abuse?
If you detect a situation of animal abuse in your environment, the first thing to do is: ensure the protection of the animal to prevent it from suffering further. You can also file a complaint with the authorities, call the SPA (Société Protectrice des Animaux) or ask the alleged person to give us the animal. Once the animal is rescued, a procedure or investigation of the person guilty of animal cruelty will have to be launched. The first step is to report the situation to the authorities so that a team of experts can take charge of regulating the situation.
This type of action or intervention will be based on the rehabilitation of the violent person and, above all, on the control of this type of behavior and aggression. We can approach the problem of animal abuse in two ways, both of them can also be combined to obtain a more effective process:
Punishment: Whether it is a fine or a prison sentence, an appropriate punishment for animal abuse is usually the first (and most obvious) option. There are laws designed to impose these punishments on animal abusers.
Psychological strategy: once the individual has been punished, we can continue the rehabilitation process to prevent him from behaving like this again, this strategy is based on developing his empathy and channeling his rage.
Say NO to animal abuse
As we have said at length and breadth in this article Cruelty to Animals: Psychology, animal abuse is everyone’s responsibility. This means that there is no single psychological trait that determines violent actions. Everyone can prevent and avoid violence to animals as much as possible.
If you wish to add your stone to the edifice, you will have to publicly denounce situations of abuse, avoid participating in events that exploit animals, and learn how to treat your furry, feathered and scaly companions.