Cruelty And Violence

Word Count: 2386 |

Human beings share most of their traits and behaviors with animals but in different forms that make them similar to animals. The act of cruelty and violence is one of these common behaviors. Cruelty can be defined as the trait of lacking interest in suffering, disturbance and physical or psychological problems of others and even getting pleasure from inflicting pains or suffers. In a situation of cruelty physical harm isn’t needed as even getting pleasure from pains or suffers in mentality can be described as cruelty. Violence refers to the act of using aggression and abuse that leads to harming other creatures physically. In other words, it can be defined as physical force performed for the purpose of damaging or abusing. From definitions of cruelty and violence, it can be understood that they both don’t refer to same meaning that cruelty may lead to violence even if it is executed in physical form besides in mentality. For instance, someone has broken his leg that he is begging for help and in this situation if another person is watching this with disinterest, he is being cruel not violent. However, the act of beating or even killing someone includes both cruelty and violence. In both the Bible and Quran, cruelty and violence are described as the forbidden behaviors by demonstrating “If you are merciless to others, God will be merciless to you.” or “God will not forgive us unless we shed the blood of some innocent creature”. [3]
This essay will argue that humans are not unique in a situation of cruelty and violence as animals also carries these facilities. However humans are more cruel and violent than animals because of having consciousness and being aware of their intelligence, abilities and behaviors that makes the animals victims and having some unique features in being cruel like terrorism, homicide, genocide or killing for just taking revenge. In this essay there will be a comparison of cruelty and violence in humans and in animals in order to move to the idea of higher cruelty of the humans and animals victimness will be demonstrated that make references to the scientific observations that show domestic animals face with home violence. It will also be focused on that there is an important link between animal cruelty and human violence that means attempting to hurt animals may lead to held cruel behaviors towards humans in order to emphasize that humans are cruel both to humans and animals. So by focusing these points, in this essay the main argument will be higher crueltiness of humans.
As it is discussed before cruelty and violence are the common behaviors that disprove the idea of uniqueness of humans in a situation of cruelty and violence. So at this point we are similar to our animal relatives, but different in many cases, this can be demonstrated like this “Human aggression has many features that are essentially unknown among other species, such as ideological (even religious) motivation, use of advanced military technology, genocide, long delayed revenge and even multi generation feuding, and many patterns of homicide.”( Brushman and Baumetser 206). So as a result of these differences, humans can be considered as more cruel and violent than animals as they have consciousness which enables them to be aware of their behaviors. For instance, as Mark Twain demonstrates “The cat plays with frightened mouse; but she has this excuse, that she does not know the mouse is suffering. The cat is the moderate-unhumanly moderate: she only scares the mouse, she does not hurt it.”[5]. On the other hand, in spite of having consciousness there are several examples of human crueltiness such as digging out a person’s eye, tearing off enemy’s skin or driving splinters under a person’s nails[5]. So from these examples it is clear that humans are more cruel than animals, as they may held cruelty for even getting fun, taking revenge or satisfying themselves rather than for basic needs like animals.
Another point about human crueltiness is terrorism that can be defined as political violence which cannot be encountered in animals as they don’t have the ability to make politics according to their limited understanding of the world and intelligence. Terrorism leads to the violent and cruel behavior towards people and even wars that causes millions of deaths of innocent creatures that are unaware of the events like children or animals, in order to execute ideological or ethnic struggle that animals don’t carry. Furthermore, we used to make use of animals like elephants or horses that are called as military animals, in wars and put them in a situation of cruelty. At this point the purpose is to get benefit from their phisical superiority to humans in order to make more harm on the enemy.This shows humans crueltiness in a situation of desire to win or take revenge.
Besides terrorism, there is another act that is lowering human standards and putting them in more cruel situation.It is the inhuman use of animals to test products or scientific researches for the sake of our selfish selves. In this situation, people are testing toxic materials on animals that harms or even kills them. Despite having the chance of studying human tissues,cells and organs in medical research that may be more helpful than using animals, every year in the United States, millions of animals are used for experimentation and as a result of this they are infected with diseases, injected toxic chemicals or have their bones broken or severed and this fact is enough to demonstrate the human crueltiness on animals. However, animals also make use of other animals, but these are more basic than humans’ as they use each other for just surviving such as finding foods, defending themselves or finding place to live. For instance the parasites live in other creatures’ gastrals to get food and while doing this it makes harm on that creature. However, making use of another creature at this point is more innocent than the humans’. Because, animals are used in dangerous and harmful situations to satisfy humans’ selfish desires rather than being used for innocent reasons like finding food or defending itself. So, at this point it would be suitable to say that humans are crueler than animals in a situation of making use of animals for their benefits.
Human violence is not restricted with inhuman use of animals in industry or science; animals also face with domestic violence that puts them in a position of victim. Animals in these situations may be silent victims, who may be threatened, injured or killed by a violent family member to control or intimidate other members of the household. There are some reasons of harming domestic animals such as the violent person may want “To teach submission, to demonstrate and confirm power and control over the family, to punish the victim for leaving, to degrade the victim through involvement in the abuse or to prevent the victim from leaving or coerce her/him to return.”[6]. So at this point we can make a connection between animal cruelty and home violence that “A study in 1983 of New Jersey families referred to youth and family services for reasons of child abuse reported that 88% of cases had at least one member of the household who physically abused animals. An English researcher found that 83% of families reported for animal abuse also had children listed at high risk of abuse or neglect.”[4].
Humans’ more cruelty can be discussed in a different perspective which is called as culture. Some philosophers views that the origin of aggression, which leads to cruelty and violence, is culture. In other words, aggression is a learned behavior as some studies demonstrates “A study by Bandura at 1977 that children would behave more aggressively after observing a model perform aggressive acts, especially if they could copy model’s action directly.”(Brushman and Baumetser 206). So, this view argues that culture has an important effect on aggression as culture can be formed if there occurs relationships between people, in other words socialism brings relationships, relationships forms cultures and culture brings aggression. This vision refers to the idea that humans are crueler than animals as a result of their higher culture as it is described like this “Aggression is probably most effective and appealing to merely social animals. Solitary animals that get what they want from physical environment have little need to influence each other. Aggression among them is chiefly a matter of killing their foods and as such it isn’t likely to be directed against their own species. Social animals may negotiate their status hierarchies and resolve disputes by aggressive activity. Cultural animals live in a world with meanings (many of which condemn aggression) and elongated time perspective (in which the long-term costs of aggression become more apparent). Most cultures do restrain and condemn aggression. But because of the greater interdependence of cultural animals, the temptations to resort to aggression are legion.”[7]. So from this definition, it can be claimed that humans who are social and cultural animals are crueler than the others.
As it is mentioned before animals are faced with home violence and being used for industrial purposes or scientific research. There is an important link between human cruelty on animals and violence to human beings. In other words, anyone who attempts to hurt or harm animals, carries the potency to be cruel to humans too. Several researches have shown that most of the serial killers were cruel to animals when they were child and people who abuse animals are more likely to be involved in other criminal behaviors. “ A 1997 study by the MSPA and Northeastern University found that 70% of animal abusers had committed at least one other criminal offense and almost 40% had committed violent crimes against people, The Childhood Cruelty Toward Animals Among Criminals and Noncriminals study found that 25% of aggressive criminals confessed to five or more acts of childhood animal torture and A 1986 study by Tingle reported that 48% of convicted rapists and 30% of convicted child molesters admitted perpetrating acts of animal cruelty in their childhood or adolescence.”[6]. From these researches and results we can obtain that childhood cruelty towards wild, pet and stray animals differentiates into cruelty towards humans in adulthood and there exists a relationship between cruelty to animals and later violence against humans. For instance, the research of Felthous and Kellert points out the relationship between childhood cruelty toward animals and aggressive behavior toward humans among criminals in adulthood. They studied on 152 aggressive and nonaggressive criminals and discovered that the majority of criminals had shown cruelty towards animals in childhood. There is an example of pathway to violence against humans: “15 year old boy Kipland Kinkel killed cats, possibly his own family’s cat, and a cow.
He also has a fascination with guns and a quick temper that led him to be expelled from school twice in one week, for acts of violence against fellow students.
He was accused of murdering both of his parents, then going on to his high school to open fire on his schoolmates, killing 2 and injuring another 22, on May 22, 1998. Police also found four bombs in his home.”[2]. At this point we can move to the idea that crueltiness to animals is basic form of crueltiness and this link is unique to humans as we cannot make a connection between animals’ cruelty to each other and to humans, as both of them may be hold for same purpose, for just surviving. So we can move to the idea of humans’ more crueltiness according this connection.
In conclusion, humans are not unique in a situation of cruelty and violence that animals also have these traits in different form that can be explained as humans are more cruel and violent than animals because of having consciousness which provides them to be aware of the outer world and their behaviors. So in this position animals are the victims who are exposured with pet violence, being infected with diseases or injected chemical toxics because of being used as test object in industry or science. At this point scientific researches have shown that cruelty towards animals is a pathway to violence against humans that most of the criminals who have been violent toward people share a common history of cruelty to animals. To sum up, according to scientific researches on humans and animals, the fact of domestic violence and link between cruelty to humans and to animals human beings are more cruel than animals as they are the only ones that get pleasure from inflicting pains or suffers in spite of having consciousness and this fact puts humans in higher crueltiness standard and animals in victim position.
[1] “Dog Tip: Humane Education and the Animal-Human Cruelty Connection”. Wednesday Apr 12, 2006.
[2] “Most People Who Have Been Violent Toward People Share a Common History of Cruelty to Humans”. Pet Luv Shack.
[3] “Cruelty and Violence in Bible”. The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible. <>
[4]Shelburne, Eleanor. “A Social Sentinel: Acts of Animal Cruelty Can Point to an Offender’s Potential for Violence Against Humans”. ARKONLINE<>
[5] Twain Mark. “The Damned Human Race: The Lowest Animal”. Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings by Mark Twain.Ed Bernardo De Voto. New York: Harper Collins, 1938.
[6] “Animal Cruelty/Domestic Violence Fact Sheet”. The Humane Society on The United States.
Baumetser, Ray F. and Brad J. Bushman. “Human Nature and Aggressive Motivation:
Why Do Cultural Animals Turn Violent?”. Human Nature and Aggressive Motivation.2004: 205-220.

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