On Animal Cruelty

In The New York Times Magazine, Charles Seibert discusses the link between witnessing animal cruelty as a child and the implications for that child’s capacity for compassion or empathy in his article, “The Animal Cruelty Syndrome.” A follow-up letter by Marianne Sullivan introduces the issue of the implications of eating meat on a culture’s morality:

Siebert deftly explores the connection between violence against animals and other forms of violence, but he avoids the implications. The article mentions that children who witness violence toward their family pet “suppress their own feelings of kindness and tenderness toward a pet because they can’t bear the pain caused by their own empathy for the abused animal.” That would appear to be exactly what people do whenever they sit down to eat. No matter how hard people pretend not to, we all know what happens to the animals who end up on our plates. What does our willing ignorance of this violence toward billions of animals do to us as a culture?


New York