Animal Abuse and Cruelty

Emily G. Patterson-Kane and Heather Piper

in The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Violence, Homicide, and War

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199738403
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Animal Abuse and Cruelty


This chapter addresses animal abuse and animal cruelty, along with some of the explanations that a range of disciplines have proffered when seeking to understand and predict such behaviors, with a focus on evolutionary biology. While providing yet another theory from which to explain violence and cruelty is not the main endeavor of this chapter, nevertheless some suggestions are made that may help future consideration of cruelty and violence. In particular, the need for inter/multidisciplinary research on animal abuse and cruelty is highlighted. Also, it is suggested that the study of morally weighted behavior benefits from moving between paradigms to distinguish issues of causality and consequence from issues of social approbation and political agendas.

Keywords: aggression; animal abuse; animal cruelty; evolutionary biology; violence

Article.  12060 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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