What Makes a Crime?

The Perceived Harmfulness, Wrongfulness, and Seriousness of Offenses against Nonhuman Animals

in Society & Animals
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The purpose of this research was to explore the perceived seriousness of crimes, such as abuse and neglect, committed against nonhuman animals. Drawing upon the methods of previous work on crime seriousness, it was hypothesized that perceptions of the harmfulness and wrongfulness of animal offenses would influence perceptions of seriousness, with wrongfulness being the most powerful predictor. A survey was administered to a sample of college students (n = 245), and the hypotheses were supported. The results also indicated that crimes against animals were ranked as more serious than property offenses but less serious than crimes against persons. Furthermore, the two predictors—harmfulness and wrongfulness—explained a greater amount of variance in the perceived seriousness of offenses against animals than for property or person offenses. Results are contextualized within policy and philosophical perspectives pertaining to how offenses against animals are viewed by society and addressed by the legal system.

What Makes a Crime?

The Perceived Harmfulness, Wrongfulness, and Seriousness of Offenses against Nonhuman Animals

in Society & Animals

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References

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