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Letters

Why does cruelty happen?

“The fidelity of a dog is a precious gift demanding no less binding moral responsibilities than the friendship of a human being”

(Konrad Lorenz)

For many of us the above statement expresses our tender and emotional attachment to our pets, domesticated creatures that at times become members of the family. The West has placed “pets” onto a platform, a pedestal that separates them from the so-called “wildlife” many of us hear about but do not experience.

With a sound approach we will need to explore why cruelty is imposed upon others, whether they be humans or animals.

Scientists have ventured to acknowledge that most animals show no visible forms of cruelty towards their offspring or prey. The same goes for most of your neighbours too. Most people of sound mind show no or little tendencies towards cruelty. What does cruelty mean? Webster’s Dictionary says it is “the callous indifference towards or pleasure in causing pain and suffering of others”.

Why do scoundrels, villains, reprobates, knaves, rogues and bullies hurt others? If cruelty happens all over the place, in your neighbourhood, community and even your family what causes it?

Situation: A number of chaps see a mild mannered dog, and proceeded to taunt, kick and torture the creature. They had no reason to harm the animal, and yet they did so with relish. The dog was no threat, just minding its own business and these men assaulted the animal. Crazy actions right? Unsolicited violence. Violence for its own sake.

Cruelty and violence are partnered in this mental health issue. To hit someone is one thing, but to cruelly beat someone, totally different. How can someone look into the eyes of a dog, a child, woman or innocent animal and basically terrorise it?

Fear, emotions, personal loss, an adrenaline rush, superiority complex and so much more are involved. The men who tortured the dog are mentally ill and need assistance immediately. If allowed to get away with it, they may evolve to a different kind of victimisation.

Medical professionals may say that cruelty is a response to some personal past or present negative experience. Perhaps. Cruelty to animals is one way that a person can express his/her multi psychological needs.

(1). People can get a high (adrenaline rush) from inflicting pain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that gives your brain the ability to think and plan. Too little or too much can lead to vast mental health issues. Cruel people are affected by dopamine levels.

(2). In our pursuit to become, humanity has produced some people who require power, and reinforce this need by harming, torturing and scaring others. A victim-prey mentality develops. It starts in a person, youth, often experimenting through animal harm and torture. If you know of a child that harms animals let the authorities know. Do something about it.

There are many myths out there prescribing reasons for cruelty.

Dehumanisation is one. Cruel people often dehumanise others and many medical professionals believe that simply pointing out that victimisers are not evil, but just like others. Re-educate and reform.

Another myth is that those who are evil victimisers are psychopaths, sadists driven to experience other peoples’ pain. Complicated. A white Supremacist knows that Blacks and Jews are human beings. Their fright hinges on their belief that one race is trying to replace another. They cannot tell the public this, so they dehumanise their perceived victims. Ever hear someone call a Police Officer a “PIG”? Dehumanisation at its best don’t you think?

Some British Psychologists and Sociologists believe that Cruelty is born out of a normal and natural appreciation of the humanity of others, which then connects with certain important appetites we have, like an appetite to punish someone you believe did you wrong.

People who are cruel are just like us, but under the right conditions anyone can do horrible things. Feelings and needs to be noticed, appreciated and if that cannot happen then bring on fear and violence. One way or another some people need to be noticed. People can be manipulated by others, individuals, crowds or even movements, governments, to do terrible things.

Why are animals tortured, harmed and killed horribly? Many societies in the past viewed animals as possessions of humanity. Things to be used. A cultural thing. I knew a fellow who owned a farm. His dog went mad, so it was uncontrollable. This man killed the dog in a most horrible way. Many people watched the event with hardly a protest voiced. I called the Cops.

Various portions of the society you live in may have different ways of viewing animals, whether they in fact have rights. No matter how you view this, the victimisation, torture and assault upon an animal just to cause fear and pain is wrong. To do so shows us a person who is mentally ill, and in need of mental health assistance immediately.

Did you know that 88% of American Serial Killers started off their careers as young people who tortured animals. But let’s forget about serial killers. Know that ordinary people, like your neighbours, family members or those who you work with can become mentally ill, or so enraged by something that they may lose it, and commit what should not happen, violence upon another.

Modern day societies have shown a reluctance in getting involved in animal rights, allowing individuals the freedom to treat animals as they see fit. Only through exerted pressure from the public will these governmental authorities protect animals, most of the time after they have been assaulted.

According to Buddha, “The root of suffering is desire”. The cause of suffering is desires, so could we choose to transform our unhealthy social desires towards desires that create, nourish life and respect the other?

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario