Traumatized Witnesses: Review of Childhood Exposure to Animal Cruelty

  • Roshni Trehan LadnyEmail author
  • Laura Meyer
Brief Report

The multifaceted nature of the human-animal bond has been well-documented throughout history (Braje 2011). Much attention has been paid to the benefits that may accrue, at least to humans, from interacting with non-human animals (referred to in this paper as simply “animals”), and fields of study have developed around the therapeutic potential of these interactions (Braje 2011; Flynn 2011). What is less understood, but is of equal relevance to researchers, is the “dark side” of the bond: animal cruelty, including abuse and neglect.

National and cultural variation in attitudes toward these behaviors have been noted; countries and cultures with more progressive ideas about animals have widely acknowledged the pain and fear they experience, and how these responses are analogous to those of humans. In contrast, cultures in which animals are devalued and their abuse normalized may foster the social acceptability and frequency of cruelty (Plant et al. 2016). Animal cruelty has also been...



The authors thank Mal Plant for his encouragement and his support of this work. Mal has always been a champion for those who cannot speak for themselves, and has been instrumental in developing the fundamentals of The Link in Eastern Europe. The authors would also like to extend their thanks to Eleonora Gullone, Ph.D., Phil Arkow and Daniel Maier-Katkin for reviewing the document draft and making a number of invaluable suggestions.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Disclosure of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standards and Informed Consent

This paper did not involve the use of human subjects.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology and Criminal JusticeThe University of TampaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of Professional PsychologyUniversity of DenverDenverUSA

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