Cruelty comes in many guises

Escrito por Nuria Querol i Viñas.

Cruelty comes in many guises
Monday, 31 January 2005

THE rate at which incidences of cruelty and violence are occurring presents a real risk the behaviour may become so common as to border on normal.

Cruelty to domestic animals has made headlines of late.

They include a case where a kitten was doused in petrol and set alight, another where a cat was stomped on, kicked and punched; and the most recent involves investigations into reports of a cat being dragged behind a car for up to an hour.

One of the few positives to emerge is an increased awareness and harsher penalties.

NSW Police Minister Carl Scully has proposed making animal cruelty a criminal offence and has outlined plans to provide police with better access to RSPCA files; saying given the strong links between animal and human cruelty, police and the RSPCA need to work more closely and effectively.

Studies are examining, and some have proven, links between the increasing violent content in films and computer games, and the corresponding increase in incidences of cruelty and violence in society.

It may be people are becoming so desensitised to violence that the more exposure they have, the less affected they are.

So is it that the level of violence and cruelty has increased, or is it a case of better information dissemination?

Is this type of violence a modern phenomenon?

Perhaps not, given it is 60 years since the Auschwitz death factory closed and the atrocities committed there are documented legend.

That such torture of humans can be carried out at the hands of fellow humans belies belief.

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib is perhaps the most recent example. His lawyers claim the disgusting treatment and torture inflicted during his imprisonment has caused emotional and psychological damage.