Dom Post on animal cruelty

The Dom Post editorial:

The never-ending litany of what human beings do to animals every year in this country makes the average person feel sick. But a group of people delights in the thought – and the act – of torturing animals, sometimes someone else’s pet.

If National’s Tauranga MP, , is lucky, such persecutors will face greater jail time in future. When Parliament resumes, he will put into the members’ ballot a private member’s bill to increase the maximum penalty for wilful ill-treatment of animals from three, to five years’ imprisonment.

His rationale is simple. “A tougher penalty,” he says, “would … be in line with increasingly clear research that those who do serious harm to animals are much more likely to perpetrate family, as well as other violence. In addition, the research shows that psychopathic offenders, often as first offending, demonstrate a propensity for cruelty through abuse of animals”.

Mr Bridges is right. The FBI in the United States has recognised the connection since the 70s, when it analysed the lives of serial killers.

Such individuals have their wiring seriously mucked up. I can understand why people commit most crimes, but can’t understand how anyone can get pleasure from torturing animals.

It is to be hoped Mr Bridges has the luck of the Greens in having his bill chosen from the ballot. Or he might be able to persuade ministerial colleagues whose portfolios touch on the subject – such as Corrections Minister Judith Collins or Agriculture Minister David Carter – to sponsor his measure as a Government Bill. This initiative is overdue and such support would give it heft.

It will be good to see the penalties increased, regardless of how it happens.

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