FBI to start tracking animal cruelty stats next year

The FBI’s reporting of crime statistics will be altered next year to include animal cruelty as separate category.  Up to now, the National Incident Based Reporting System has not broken out such crimes, making it difficult to track trends.  Alison Knezevich of the Baltimore Sun writes (hat tip: Breitbart):

"There was no way to find out how often it occurs, where it occurs, and whether it was on the increase," said Mary Lou Randour, senior adviser for animal cruelty programs and training at the nonprofit Animal Welfare Institute. "Empirical data is important. It's going to give us information about animal cruelty crime so we can plan better about intervention and prevention."

Randour and others say tracking animal cruelty cases is especially important because research has shown that violence against animals can be an early indicator that a person will be violent toward humans, and that animal abuse often occurs alongside other crimes such as domestic violence. (snip)

Incidents will be divided into four categories: neglect; intentional abuse and torture; organized abuse such as dog fighting and cock fighting; and animal sexual abuse.

Note that neglect, a crime of omission, not commission, is not included.  Deliberate violence against helpless animals is clearly the product of a sick mind, so being able to track trends in these statistics is a valuable indicator of social and mental pathology.  It will take several years before trends can be reliably spotted, but I am not optimistic about things getting better.  But then, I am a conservative, and we tend toward pessimism on social change.

The FBI’s reporting of crime statistics is often criticized from both the left and the right for what they leave out.  I wonder if there will be controversy over this latest change.

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