The link that exists between mistreatment of animals and violence inflicted on humans is now established. One Voice, under the framework of the Zoe Unit, is publicizing these findings so as to engender empathy, and thus fight more effectively against cruelty. Additionally, the Zoe Unit is implementing closer cooperation with the relevant services, following the example put forth by English-speaking countries.
A Historic Conference
On September 18, 2007, at Keble College of Oxford University, the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and the League Against Cruel Sports organized the very first international conference on "The relationship between cruelty to animals and violence towards humans," with the sponsorship of One Voice. In attendance were professionals from all five continents involved in animal welfare, child protective services, criminal offense prevention, law, social services, education, and veterinary science. Together, they analyzed the evidence pointing to the link between animal and human violence, its possible meaning, its moral significance, and its implications for future social and legal policy. "Since 1987, psychiatrists have admitted that animal abuse is an important symptom of antisocial behavior in the present and potentially in the future," explained Frank Ascione, a psychology professor at the University of Utah. According to Eleonora Gullone, a psychology professor at Monash University in Australia, it is "undeniable that the aggression directed towards animals and the aggression directed toward humans does not constitute two distinct behaviors: predictably, the two behaviors are linked," she declared. "In fact, animal abuse may indicate other types of violence with remarkable accuracy, whether that be family violence, crime, or child abuse. "
A fruitful collaboration…
Some countries have already turned this evidence into action. For example, in the US and the UK, child protective services and animal welfare organizations have begun collaborating to develop cross alerts [that would identify an individual capable of violent actions]?. Since "the link" proves that some violence cannot be elevated over other kinds of violence, no action perpetrated against individuals— human or animal—in a state of physical or mental weakness, can be tolerated. The famous formula which states that violence begets violence makes perfect sense: victims of violence are more likely themselves to become perpetrators... With this in mind, the connection between animal abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, and mistreatment of the elderly becomes all the more comprehensible. The need to eliminate the legal distinction between the nature of the victim—human or animal— is all too clear.
... but too rare
The Links Group, responsible for the creation of the conference, is an organization that has been working since 2001 to better understand the "links" between child abuse, animal abuse, and domestic violence. Additionally, they manage [fundraising efforts?] for charitable organizations dedicated to humanitarian and animal welfare. However, since human violence is almost always given precedence over cruelty to animals, it can often prove difficult to make organizations recognize the connection between their objectives. They fail to see that rather than being mutually exclusive issues, solving animal problems will most likely help to solve human concerns. We cannot address abuse and simultaneously distinguish between types of violence according to the victim. On the contrary, we must bring together players on both a national and an international scale, uniting unanimously in the fight against abuse in all its forms, whether against humans or animals. This kind of collaboration would reflect a true dedication to the principals of compassion for all beings.
Since One Voice's participation in the Oxford Conference in 2007, the organization has worked to disseminate the knowledge about the link between animal and human violence. In 2012, One Voice published a book geared towards the French public entitled "Violence against animals and humans: the link." It includes the articles that appeared during and following? the conference. It also compiles some of the solutions developed in Europe and elsewhere for working towards a more peaceful world— they are accessible in a downloadable document:
"One Voice Instructions: The Link between violence against animals and humans."