For a Nonspeciesist Criminology: Animal Abuse as an Object of Study


This article considers a variety of arguments about why theory and research on animal abuse should be developed by criminologists. These include, with more or less satisfaction, the status of animal abuse as (1) a signifier of actual or potential interhuman conflict, (2) an existing object of criminal law, (3) an item in the utilitarian calculus on the avoidance of pain and suffering, (4) a violation of rights, and (5) one of several oppressions identified by feminism as an interconnected whole. The article concludes that animal abuse is an important object of study for criminology not only sui generis but also because its presence may indicate or predict situations of interhuman violence.