Speciesist beliefs are more pronounced among perpetrators of animal cruelty, according to a study the results of which will be published soon in an American journal of criminology.
A marked speciesism among the perpetrators of violence on animals (study)
This large-scale study, the first of its kind in France, was carried out by the professor of social psychology Laurent Bègue (University of Grenoble-Alpes) on 12,344 adolescents aged 13 to 18, including a small minority of girls (49 , 6%).
Schooled in Isère, they were contacted via their establishments and completed questionnaires anonymously with the permission of their parents.
Among them, 7.3% of them, including a large majority of boys (67.7%), admitted to having intentionally harmed an animal; this happened only once in 44% of cases (14.7% twice and 41.3% three or more times).
This violence mainly concerned cats (22.5% of responses) and dogs (13.9%), as well as fish (6.4%), rodents (8.2%) and other animals ( 37.3%). In 54.9% of the cases, the perpetrator was alone; in 25% of the cases, another person was involved and in 20.1% of the cases there were three or more.
This study confirms what others (Anglo-Saxons) had already shown: namely, that a certain number of psychological frailties are observed in the perpetrators of acts of cruelty.
"They are on average more affected by anxious and depressive tendencies, are less socialized and attached to their parents, their friends, to the school world, and are also prone to other deviations (bullying, drunkenness)", summarizes Laurent Bègue.
For the first time, however, underlines the researcher, his work establishes a link with speciesism, a vision of the world postulating the superiority of man over other species.
At the question "is the life of a human being worth more than that of an animal?", the responses of adolescents reveal a higher level of support among perpetrators of acts of cruelty.
Likewise, these better justify the use of animals in biomedical research, even when it is synonymous with suffering, and more easily accept the "sacrifice" of laboratory rats and mice.
"Representing the worth of animals relative to humans is predictive of acts committed, which is a truly new observation. It would be wrong to conceive only cruelty to animals as an individual pathology: collective representations are also involved.", concludes the scientist.
His study, "Explaining animal violence in adolescents: the role of speciesism", will soon be published in the United States in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
Created Aug 24, 2020