Editorial: What cruelty to animals tells us about people

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2006:

To behave unethically by the standards of
hare coursers is no easy feat. Hare coursing
consists of setting dogs, usually greyhounds,
on captive rabbits. Recently banned in Britain,
it continues in Ireland, and in parts of the
U.S. and other places where most people do not
yet realize that anyone is doing something so
depraved for kicks.
Vinnie Jones, however, is no ordinary
man. Playing for Wimbledon against Newcastle in
1987, Jones became “football’s most infamous
hardman,” according to Ben Hoyle of the London
Times, when photographed in the act of
backhandedly squeezing the testicles of opponent
Paul Gascoigne of Newcastle.
After Gascoigne protested, Jones sent
him a dozen roses, in an attempted further
insult to his manhood. Gascoigne told Jones that
if he wanted that kind of relationship, he could
do some chores, and sent him a toilet brush.

“Since quitting the game,” wrote Hoyle,
Jones “has made a successful career in Hollywood.
His current projects include playing the vicious
warlord Arkan in a film about the Balkans
conflict.” Notorious for directing so-called
“ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia, Arkan was
mentioned in the January/February 2006 edition of
ANIMAL PEOPLE for housing his mascot tiger at the
severely substandard Belgrade Zoo, integrally
involved in the 1990 “Bangkok Six” wildlife
trafficking case.
Jones’ coursing greyhound Boavista won 24
consecutive competitions from September 2005
through February 26, 2006, when he won the
£55,000 Irish Cup in County Limerick and was
named “Coursing Greyhound of the Year.”
Then Boavista tested positive for banned substances.
“The Irish Coursing Club, the governing
body for the sport in Ireland, will now summon
Mr. Jones to its offices in Clonmel in April to
explain the test results,” wrote Sam Jones of
The Guardian, who did not acknowledge any close
relationship to Vinnie Jones. “Jerry Desmond,
the club’s chief executive, said Jones could face
penalties and fines if he breached the club’s
Dogfighters and cockfighters may also
have their ethical limits, though their
grievance resolution methods often leave the
essence of their disagreements obscure.
In Johnston County, North Carolina, for
example, Tristan Hinson and Keon K. Rowe were in
mid-March 2006 charged with murder. Hinson was
also charged with felony dog fighting. Johnston
Sheriff Steve Bizzell told the Raleigh News &
Observer that Rowe on February 24, 2006 shot
Danny Ray Edwards in the head during dispute
involving some of the 47 pit bull terriers found
on Hinson’s farm.
A similar “grievance proceeding”
reportedly executed by “about 10 men armed with
automatic rifles and pistols” brought the March
20 deaths of five people at a cockpit in Pambuan
village, north of Manila, wrote Central Luzon
desk reporter Anselmo Roque of the Philippine
Inquirer. “Erick and Ebeth Pascual, sons of
cockpit owner Boy Pascual, were killed, along
with physician Juanito Reyes, and cockpit
security men identified only as Kare and Pablo,”
Roque specified.
Under 15 years ago mainstream news media
and law enforcement often seemed surprised by
studies documenting that humans who hurt animals
for fun often also harm fellow humans. Case
histories and data proved quickly persuasive.
Almost every state now has a felony cruelty law,
enacted with the support of police and
prosecutors who realize that stiffer sentences
for illegal animal abuse prevent crimes against
humans, especially women and children, by
removing the offenders from society.
Crime reporting now routinely notes
offenders’ histories of animal abuse.
A case in point was The New York Times
obituary for Richard Kuklinski, 70, who died in
a prison hospital on March 5, 2006. Kuklinski’s
“lust for publicity nearly matched the blood lust
he displayed in claiming to have killed more than
100 people as a Mafia hit man,” wrote obituarist
Douglas Martin. “He killed neighborhood cats as a
youth and said he committed his first murder at
14,” Martin recalled.
Kuklinski killed cats at a time when boys
were often given pellet guns for Christmas and
encouraged to shoot “varmints.” Cat-killing was
usually discouraged, along with shooting
songbirds and breaking windows, but was treated
as a “boys-will-be-boys” offense.
As cat-killing was rarely prosecuted, no
data base exists to demonstrate conclusively that
cat-killers grow up to become serial killers,
but an association affirmed by the FBI is that
serial killers typically kill animals before
killing humans.
ANIMAL PEOPLE data analysis indicates
that serial killers of women tend to kill mostly
cats; serial killers of male homosexuals, like
John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer, tend to kill
mostly dogs. Crimes against cats often precede
violent crimes of all sorts against women, a
phenomenon that ANIMAL PEOPLE and others have
identified as the Cat Abuse and Torture Syndrome.
Steven Avery, 43, of Mishicot,
Wisconsin, appears to be an extreme case. Avery
is charged with the Halloween 2005 murder of
photographer Teresa Halbach, 25. Before serving
18 years in prison for a rape that DNA evidence
later showed he did not commit, Avery was
sentenced to five years on probation for burglary
in 1981. Probation was revoked after Avery
allegedly burned a cat in 1982, much as he and a
16-year-old nephew allegedly burned Halbach’s
body, after Avery shackled, raped, stabbed,
strangled, and shot her.
Judge Don Scaglione of Hernando County,
Florida, on March 21, 2006 sentenced more
typical CATS offender Daniel Sean Hayes, 44, to
serve nearly two years in state prison, two
years of house arrest, and 10 years’ probation
for breaking into his ex-wife Wendy Harvey’s
home, killing her cat, leaving the dead cat in
her bed, urinating on the bed, trashing her
home and car, and stealing the urn that
contained the ashes of her brother.
Dozens of similar examples–hundreds when
all are logged–may be extracted with a quick
search of <www.Pet-Abuse.com>, maintained by
Alison L. Gianotto, whose resources in
documenting animal-related crime patterns include
many boxes of grisly case reports collected by
ANIMAL PEOPLE staff during the past 20 years.

Crime is the least part of cruelty

Unfortunately, while the association of
criminal violence against animals with criminal
violence toward humans is now widely appreciated,
criminal violence is only the smallest portion of
all the mayhem that humans inflict on animals.
Much less noted by news media and law enforcement
are the many crime histories that suggest legal
violence against animals committed in connection
with agriculture, slaughter, hunting, and
trapping may be far more likely than illegal
violence to precede or be associated with crimes
against humans–if only because there is far more
legal than illegal animal abuse, with far more
Biomedical researchers who “sacrifice”
animals in experiments are less likely than the
average American to commit violent crimes against
humans, but tend to belong to the educated,
affluent class of society that is least inclined
toward crime. Yet biomedical researchers appear
to be no exception to the rule. The bulging
ANIMAL PEOPLE files on violence against humans
linked in some manner to animal use and abuse
hint anecdotally that animal researchers may be
disproportionately represented among university
personnel who commit violent crimes.
This might be called the “Maxwell Addison
Syndrome,” after the 1969 Beatles’ song
character. “Majoring in medicine,” spending
“late nights all alone with a test tube,”
Addison took to serially killing women with a
silver hammer.
Typically art imitates life, often
intuitively recognizing behavioral patterns long
before social scientists establish them with
peer-reviewed data.

Hunting as precedent

Rick Lyman of The New York Times
apparently unwittingly raised the association of
hunting with other crimes in the first paragraph
of his account of the March 8, 2006 arrests of
University of Alabama student Matthew Lee Cloyd,
20, and Birmingham-Southern College students
Benjamin N. Mosley and Russell L. DeBusk Jr.,
each 19, for torching nine Baptist churches in
rural Alabama during the preceding month.
“Federal officials said the fires were a
‘joke’ that spun out of control while the
students were deer hunting,” wrote Lyman, who
failed to note that fire-setting and killing
animals are two of the three “deadly triad” of
behaviors that the FBI recognizes as predictors
of serial killing, if the same individual does
all three. The third part of the triad is
Pro-hunting commentators quickly pointed
out that Cloyd, Mosley, and DeBusk Jr. appear
to have been poaching, not hunting legally.
Jacklighting deer from a vehicle, as the arson
suspects presumably did, is to legal hunting
more-or-less what setting an unmuzzled dog on a
rabbit is to coursing, a practice that tends to
exhaust the supply of victims, and is therefore
Poaching, the “sportsmen” argued, is
not to be confused with what U.S. Vice President
Dick Cheney did on February 12, 2006, when he
sprayed attorney Harry Whittington, 78, of
Austin, with birdshot. Cheney and Whittington
were quite legally killing cage-reared quail for
fun, at a ranch in south Texas. Burning
churches and sending others to fight in Iraq, we
were reminded, are not equivalent activities.
Often crimes against humans committed by
animal users and abusers follow the same modus
operandi as their deeds against animals. Each
hunting season brings examples.
For instance, on December 10, 2005 a
jury in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, convicted
Lawrence Joseph Cseripko, 60, of North Union
Township, of first-degree murder for shooting
Paul Joseph Horvat Jr. three times on December
16, 1997, and dumping his body in a creek. The
two hunters apparently quarreled over who shot
deer both on that occasion and in 1996.
On November 13, 2005, Marvin Macy
caught three poachers who had just killed a deer
on his land near Clay Center, Kansas. Two of
them allegedly stabbed him with their buck knives.
On November 8, 2005, Judge Norman
Yackel of Hayward, Wisconsin, sentenced Chai
Soua Vang, 37, to serve six consecutive life
terms in prison for shooting six deer hunters and
wounding two others in a dispute over hunting
locations on November 21, 2004.
But parallels in methods of committing
violence against animals and against humans often
go beyond the obvious aspect of hunters using
firearms and buck knives, simply because those
are the weapons they have at hand.
On February 5, 2006, for example, pig
farmer Clayton Higa, 40, of Wai’anae, Hawaii,
allegedly confessed to police that he had just
used a claw hammer to beat to death Shantel Ulani
Figueroa, 21, his girlfriend of about one year.
This is how pig farmers kill surplus
shoats, when a pig births more piglets than she
has teats. In nature, runt shoats are typically
cannibalized by their mothers or siblings. On
farms, they are killed and mascerated into the
None of this is any secret. For those
who lack rural background and do not read farm
journals, ANIMAL PEOPLE editor Merritt Clifton
described the procedure in a 1989 article for the
defunct Animals’ Agenda magazine, as recounted
by a Quebec worker on a family-run pig farm.
Humane Farming Association investigator Gail
Eisnitz recently described the same process in a
report on factory pig farming in South Dakota.
Slaughterhouse designer Temple Grandin (see page
6) has also described and deplored it.
An expertly placed shot from a captive
bolt pistol is the method of killing runt shoats
recommended by the American Veterinary Medical
Association. But not just anyone can get a
permit to use a captive bolt pistol. Even a
migrant day worker can be issued a claw hammer.

Voyeuristic sadism

Even deadened sensitivity toward animal
suffering caused by participating in the meat
industry is insufficient, however, to explain a
current Kentucky bill to legalize trapping live
coyotes for sale to so-called chase pens. Chase
pens are one of the U.S. variants on coursing–or
dog fighting. Coyotes or foxes are pursued by
packs of hounds or pit bull terriers within a
ring from which they cannot escape, ostensibly
to “train” the dogs to hunt. Introduced by state
representative Royce Adams (D-Dry Ridge), the
bill cleared the state house on March 1, 85-15.
In contrast to that public endorsement of
voyeuristic sadism by 85 members of the Kentucky
legislature, former U.S. Army dog handler
Sergeant Michael J. Smith, 24, was on March 21
sentenced to six months in prison, demoted to
the rank of private, fined $2,250, and given a
dishonorable discharge on his release from
prison, after being convicted at court martial
of charges including engaging in competition with
fellow dog handler Sergeant Santos Cardona to use
their military working dogs to scare Iraqi
prisoners into urinating and defecating on
themselves. Smith and another soldier were also
convicted of videotaping acts of bestiality.
While China as yet has no anti-cruelty
law, and is notorious for the cruelties
inflicted on animals at live markets and on fur
farms, horrified individual Chinese citizens
responded remarkably quickly during the first
week in March 2006 when so-called “crush” or
“squish” videos surfaced on a Chinese web site.
Similar material came to light in the
U.S. and Britain in mid-1997. Investigations by
British Customs, the Royal SPCA, Animal Rights
Online host Susan Roghair, AnimalTalk host Dick
Weevil, Ohio animal rights attorney Shawn
Thomas, the Suffolk County SPCA, and ANIMAL
PEOPLE eventually converged, exchanged notes,
and led to the convictions of seven perpetrators
between 1999 and 2002. Elapsed time: five
years, while the videos remained in distribution.
In China, web surfers rapidly identified
the “actress” who stomped a kitten to death as
hospital nurse Wang Jue, of northern
Heilongjiang province, and posted her personal
data, along with that of the videographer. Wang
Jue lost her job. The producer, identified as
Luobei Television cameraman Li Yuejun, wrote a
published apology and self-criticism.
The state-run China Daily took the
opportunity to editorially argue for a national
cruelty law. With public opinion clearly and
vociferously opposed to cruelty, State Forestry
Administration director of wildlife and plant
protection Zhou Rongsheng announced regulations
to improve the care of animals on fur farms and
prohibit live skinning.
Amid the tide of pro-animal feeling,
wrote Animals Asia Foundation founder Jill
Robinson, “We are shocked to learn that certain
authorities in Guangzhou have announced that they
are beginning the slaughter of all unlicensed
dogs in the city, and across the province of
Yet that was actually as predictable as
elected representatives of one of the poorest,
least educated, most backward states of the U.S.
endorsing chase pens.
Guangdong and Guangzhou are the only
parts of China where cats are often eaten, are
the hub of dog-eating and wildlife-eating, have
the most notorious live markets, and are among
the centers of the Chinese fur trade.
Guangdong leaders have an economic
interest in outraging the world enough to provoke
an external backlash against all of China that
will enable them to hide their atrocities behind
the pretext of defending “Chinese” culture.
Millions of other Chinese
people are clearly stating that cruelty is not
part of their chosen culture.
Despite the many abuses that continue in
China, especially in Guangdong and Guangzhou,
western animal advocates must also point fingers
at our own fellow citizens who make poster boys
of the likes of Vinnie Jones and re-elect people
like 85 benighted members of the Kentucky

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