The Causes of Animal Abuse:
This article draws on the leading crime theories and the limited research on animal abuse to present a theory that explains why individuals engage in animal abuse. First, I describe the immediate determinants of animal abuse. Animal abuse is said to result from ignorance about the abusive consequences of our behavior for animals, the belief that abuse is justified, and the perception that abuse is personally beneficial. Second, I describe an additional set of factors that have both direct effects on animal abuse and indirect effects through the above three factors. These additional factors include individual traits, like empathy; the individual's socialization; the individual's level of strain or stress; the individual's level of social control; the nature of the animal under consideration; and the individual's social position.