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Moral Disengagement and Attitudes about Violence toward Animals

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Despite a growing body of evidence linking nonhuman animal cruelty to violence toward humans and increasing knowledge of the pain and suffering that animals experience at the hands of humans, research on violence toward animals is relatively sparse. This study examines public attitudes about violence against animals and the criminal justice response to such acts. The study included, as part of a statewide survey, questions of Texas residents gauging the perceived severity of numerous violent acts against nonhuman animals as well as the preferred criminal justice response. The paper presents descriptive analyses and employs OLS Regression to assess the relationship between Bandura's (1990, 1999) mechanisms of moral disengagement and violence toward animals. The paper discusses implications for future research on animal cruelty and animal abuse.


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