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Byron Shire
May 16, 2022

Cruelty to animals link with homicide is clear

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People of the Goulburn region and throughout NSW are rightly dismayed at the light sentence handed out in the case of the real estate agent who allowed hundreds of sheep to die in agony on his farm.

By the time inspectors arrived at the property, hundreds of sheep had died; many others were still alive but had their eyes pecked out by crows.

The sentence, a twelve-month suspended sentence and a two-year good-behaviour bond, does not in any way reflect the seriousness of this crime.

People who hurt animals are just getting warmed up. The link between cruelty to animals and other violent crimes is recognized by the FBI, which has found that a history of cruelty to animals regularly appears in its records of serial rapists and murderers.

Psychiatrists list cruelty to animals as a diagnostic criterion in the standard diagnostic and treatment manual for conduct disorders.

Numerous studies show that people who harm animals often move on to harm humans.

For example, one US study found that animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against humans. Another study, in Australia, revealed that 100 per cent of sexual homicide offenders examined had a history of animal cruelty.

Penalties for cases of cruelty and neglect are rarely imposed to the full extent of the law. The Crimes Act and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act allow for  penalties up to five years in prison or $22,000 fines for individuals or $110,000 for corporations.

Cruelty to animals is a serious crime that must be taken seriously. If you suspect someone of abusing an animal, report it to authorities right away for the safety of the entire community.

Claire Fryer, 
campaigns coordinator, 
PETA Australia

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  1. The cry for ever harsher penalties for various crimes is an easy one to make, but makes it difficult for courts to achieve balance in their punishment, and imposes heavy costs on us when custodial sentencing is required, and on the individuals who are in custody. While Peta might disagree with the sentence in this case the court has to reflect the view of most Australians – that cruelty to animals is a serious wrong, but cruelty and violence against humans is more serious. The other thing that I would note is that the latter does not show any causal link between cruelty to animals and to people. Is it not probable that most are symptoms of inner problems with the perpetrator, who themselves were likely to have suffered violence and abuse. We need to break the cycle that flows from of abuse of children – which often hides under the euphemism “smacking” – and Peta’s attempts to push its animal rights agenda by increasing the punishments for offenders against animals are unhelpful in achieving a society that is less violent against people or animals.

  2. I think Bruce Bairds shark nets, fall into thie category of animal cruelty . Shark net devices installed along stretches of NSW coast have proved the point.
    His senseless random slaughter of wild animals, offers a glimpse into a distorted psychological pathology!

    • To suggest that the shark net polices of Mike Baird, to use his correct name, show a “distorted psychological pathology! is ridiculous. Baird is simply framing policy that reflects the general Australian view – that the protection of human life, while maintaining healthful recreation, needs to be balanced against the relatively small impact on the environment. References to “senseless random slaughter of wild animals” portray the writer’s views, not those of most people in New South Wales, who are not, in general, suffering from psychological or psychiatric illness..


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