Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 453–468 | Cite as

Examining the links between animal abuse and human violence

  • Clifton P. FlynnEmail author


Empirical research has increasingly found evidence for the coexistence of animal abuse and various forms of interpersonal violence. Some researchers have even argued for a specific version of this relationship, namely, that individuals tend to move from violence toward animals, particularly in childhood, to subsequent violence toward humans. Others have suggested that the evidence for this graduation or progression hypothesis is weak and inconsistent, and that an approach to animal abuse that focuses on the link is misguided. This article begins by reviewing the research on the connections between animal abuse and interhuman violence. Then it critically assesses the evidence for and against the link, and discusses the issues and challenges facing future research in this area.


Antisocial Behavior Violent Crime Family Violence Interpersonal Violence Serial Killer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Piers Beirne and Jill Jones for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, & Women’s StudiesUniversity of South Carolina UpstateSpartanburgUSA

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