University Asked to Incorporate Zero-Tolerance Cruelty-to-Animals Policy Into Code of Conduct
For Immediate Release:
November 6, 2015
Catie Cryar 202-483-7382
On the heels of a viral video featuring a University of Alabama student beating a cat with a belt on a bed—followed by pictures that show the student strangling the animal—peta2, PETA’s youth division, sent a letter calling on school officials to incorporate a zero-tolerance policy for animal abuse into the university’s code of conduct. As peta2—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out in its letter, the well-established link between violence against animals and other forms of interpersonal violence makes a zero-tolerance policy for violence against any living being critical.
“As this disturbing case demonstrates, students everywhere need to know that violence and cruelty are always wrong, no matter who the victim is,” says peta2 Director of International Youth Outreach Ryan Huling. “peta2 is calling on the University of Alabama to implement a zero-tolerance policy for cruelty to animals now, before anyone else gets hurt.”
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
peta2’s letter to University of Alabama President Stuart Bell follows.
November 6, 2015
Stuart Bell, President
University of Alabama
Dear President Bell,
I’m writing from peta2, PETA’s youth outreach division, which works with tens of thousands of students nationwide. We’ve become aware of the story of an unidentified student of the University of Alabama (UA) who allegedly beat and strangled a cat on video, which he then shared via social media. We’re writing to urge you to help prevent future acts of violence by adding a zero-tolerance policy for cruelty to animals to your university’s code of conduct.
As universities across the country face an epidemic of bullying, hazing, and harassment, it’s important to set a standard and let your students know unequivocally that violence of all kinds is wrong. As you may know, medical experts and top law-enforcement officials agree: The link between cruelty to animals and interpersonal violence is undeniable. In fact, the FBI uses reports of animal abuse when gauging the threat potential of suspected and known criminals and classifies cruelty to animals as a Group A felony, and the American Psychiatric Association identifies it as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders. Numerous serial killers and mass murderers, including many school shooters, “began” by abusing animals, and animal abuse often coincides with domestic violence.
The prevention of violence can start on campus. By adding a zero-tolerance policy for cruelty to animals to your university’s code of conduct, UA could lead the way in educating young people about why it’s not acceptable to abuse those who are weaker than they are—and that’s a lesson that will help your students grow into productive, compassionate members of society.
On behalf of our more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide, thousands of whom proudly reside in Alabama, we thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.
Assistant Manager of College Campaigns
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals