What do children that kill animals grow up to be?
Two months ago headlines countrywide were heavy with the story about a wild Howler Monkey that was brutally killed by school children at the Belize High School of Agriculture in Orange Walk. As if the story wasn’t disturbing enough, a video taken on someone’s phone was circulated on the Internet, capturing the gruesome mob of children as they delighted in killing the helpless animal. The act of senseless violence outraged the public and when the Belize Forest Department pressed charges against the killers it was a step applauded by many. And although it was gratifying to see justice served, the root of the problem was overlooked. Just what possessed, and I mean possessed in every sense of the word, these children to behave this way? How can children gleefully partake in the beating death of a helpless animal? Last week The San Pedro Sun reported on another story of children actively participating in animal cruelty. And a very treacherous one at that! Risking life and limb to pull a live crocodile from a trap with the sole intention of torturing and killing it makes for what some may consider an unbalanced mind…and perhaps a dangerous one at that. What would possess a group of young boys to do such a thing? Herein lays the question, and the root of the problem. Why are some children inspired to behave this way? Most behaviors are either learned or mimicked, so who is influencing these children? Perhaps their parents have the same attitude, or even sadly perhaps the children are on the other end of the brutality, just acting out what has already been done to them? Animal abuse can be an indicator of the likelihood of future acts of violence. Abusers and children who witness abuse may become desensitized to violence and may lose the ability to empathize with victims. In reference to a fact sheet issued by Be Kind Belize, Understanding the Connection Between Animal Cruelty and Human Violence, animal cruelty can...
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