UN Committee on the Rights of the Child & Violent Animal Abuse
In May 2021, during the 87th Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, came an historic moment. The United Nations engaged with the subject of animal abuse for the first time.
A phenomenon, known as ‘The Link’, connects animal abuse with child trauma, wherein animals and children share similar fate. There are numerous implications of animal abuse in the human domain. The study of this area began in America decades ago but although having some recognition in other western cultures has had limited applications in non-western societies…until now.
A UK University Study was the first conducted in a non-western society where previously unacknowledged cultural dynamics included animal abuse on a significant scale, often conducted by governments as a strategy to address extensive homeless animal populations. These violent practices vary between publicly shooting, poisoning homeless animals or violently removing them from the streets to be held and killed in shelters dedicated to this purpose. These strategies present the public with social diminishment of the status of the animals to that of ‘vermin’, encouraging increased animal abuse within society.
Research has shown that witnessing abuse and violence causes no less trauma than being a direct victim of abuse. It has been well established that exposure to violent abuse in all its forms can result in empathy erosion, a psychological need to reenact the abuse (whether towards animals or in the form of domestic violence and child abuse), and acquisition of a normalisation of violence against society, including serial murder. Adaptation to violent environments across human development involves a multitude of cascading effects leading to arrested brain development and causing damage to genes, neural systems, and brain tissue. Many neurobiological changes that are adaptive for survival in violent contexts become maladaptive in other environments, conferring lifelong risk for psychopathology.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has identified these ‘Harmful Effects’ caused to children having to witness violent animal abuse and has released a statement calling for a cessation of government practices supporting such ‘Traditions and Practices’. The Committee has declared an increased resolve to address such ‘violent traditions and practices which have a detrimental effect on the well-being of children’.
By adopting a ‘Protect the Children to Save the Animal & Protect the Animal to Save the Child’ perspective, innumerable animals can now be saved from experiencing violence which when witnessed by a child causes effects which have ramifications previously unacknowledged, impacting on individuals and society.
Violent practices to reduce homeless animal populations have never been successful. They may engineer profitability and appease emotional gratification as a rescue requirement but fail to provide a permanent solution. WHO,OIE and FVE recommended national neutering programs provide the only solution.
In the Concluding Observations to the 87th Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child the following statement was released :-
"Evaluate and eliminate, on the basis of the procedure and criteria described above, practices, policies and services that may not be in the best interests of the child, including societal violence against animals."
Let us remind ourselves of that historic moment when the UN challenged a government about violent animal abuse practices witnessed by children. A precedent was created that day.
For the first time the United Nations had addressed public animal abuse witnessed by children. Animal abuse can take place in diverse forms, in diverse cultures & societies but one commonality remains…its effects on the children. Whilst the immediate focus is on homeless animal populations, within the statement reference to ‘societal violence against animals’ can be included ANY violent tradition or practice against sentient beings and which is witnessed by children.
So in conclusion, in order to be compliant with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, every nation having ratified the Convention must follow the guidance of the UN Committee and replace homeless animal killing programs with recommended humane national neutering programs or else be deemed non-complaint with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Similarly, challenges can be made to any government authority which, within its domain of responsibility, either condones or fails to address ANY violent animal abuse practices witnessed by children.
This is no longer a simple matter of animal abuse…it has now been elevated into the domain of ‘Human Rights’ & invites being responded to accordingly.
A completely new way of perceiving animal abuse... globally. A new dimension has been opened...
Protect the Animal to Save the Child....and Protect the Child to Save the Animal !