Vets rally for community focus on animal abuse
The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is calling for a national summit on animal abuse to raise community awareness of the problem.
The AVA is backing the New South Wales police decision to set up an animal cruelty task force and is calling on other states to follow suit.
Both vets and criminologists say violence against animals and violence against people are related.
Criminal profiler John Clarke says animal abuse is statistically linked to sexual violence and serial killings.
"We looked at 970 people and we found a clear link between animal cruelty and each of those crimes," he said.
"In particular, we found that individuals with a history of sexual homicide and serial killing, serial murder - every one of those had a history of animal cruelty."
However, the AVA is lukewarm about a proposal making it mandatory for vets to report suspected incidents of animal cruelty.
AVA president-elect Dr Matt Makin says the proposal could actually encourage people to neglect their animals.
"If it's mandatory to report a case, there's a fair chance that the care of that animal will be neglected further on because there will be a reluctance for these people to go back to the vet," Dr Makin said.