Absent the influence of certain longtime friends of this blog (and they know who they are), it is unlikely we would have contemplated the theological significance of animals, largely because we are insufficiently fond of vegetables. But several regular readers have persuaded us to contemplate anew the relationship of humans to other creatures, and what our attitude toward helpless animals tells us about our attitude toward peole over whom we exercise power. In that spirit, we offer the press release hidden under the Read more tag. Click to see it all.
LANDMARK UK ACADEMIC CONFERENCE TO DEBATE LINK BETWEEN ANIMAL ABUSE AND HUMAN VIOLENCE
A groundbreaking international conference, aimed at exploring the link between cruelty to animals and person-to-person violence, will attract leading academics to Oxford University’s Keble College on 18 September.
The conference, the Relationship between Animal Abuse and Human Violence, will analyse this link and its potentially far-reaching implications for social and legal policy around the world. Eminent speakers at this, the UK’s first major international conference on the subject, will present discussion papers for those working in crime prevention, law enforcement, social work, animal welfare, child protection, humane education, veterinary services and spousal and elderly care.
The inaugural event of the newly-founded Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics (OCAE), the conference has a bold aim: to identify links between violence meted out to animals and to people in order to develop social and legal mechanisms to better safeguard the well-being of both.
The Revd Professor Andrew Linzey, director and founder of the OCAE, believes that people concerned for animals have missed something important, saying ‘It isn’t just that cruelty to animals is unjust to animals — there is now increasingly solid evidence that animal cruelty harms human beings’.
‘Since 1987 the psychiatric profession has acknowledged animal abuse as a significant symptom of current and, potentially, future antisocial behaviour,’ explains keynote speaker Frank Ascione, Utah State University’s renowned Professor of Psychology. ‘It is also clear that animal abuse may occur in families where children are maltreated or women are abused by their intimate partners. The Oxford conference will be a landmark in assessing our current knowledge about these issues and will create an agenda for critical research in the years ahead.’
Another eminent speaker, Eleonora Gullone, Associate Professor of Psychology at Australia’s Monash University, points to the increasing recognition of the significance of animal abuse as an indicator of aggressive, violent or abusive behaviour towards humans. `Incorporating this knowledge into policies and procedures is therefore likely to significantly contribute to early intervention efforts aimed at preventing violence from escalating within the family and within society,’ she says.
Other speakers include Conor Gearty, Professor of Human Rights and Director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics; Jack Levin, Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University; Martin Wasik, Professor of Criminal Justice at Keele University, crown court judge and chair of the UK’s Sentencing Advisory Panel and Alan C. Brantley, FBI Supervisory Special Agent (retired) with the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, USA.
The conference, which draws speakers and delegates from Europe, America, Australasia and Africa, will be opened by Erin Pizzey, the award winning humanitarian and founder of refuges for battered women and children.
Full programme and online registration available at www.oxfordanimalethics.com