Convictions for animal cruelty and neglect increased by a third between 2011 and 2012, according to the RSPCA which says it is struggling to cope with what it calls “the growing animal cruelty crisis” According to RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant judges need to take cases of abuse far more seriously than they currently do.

There is a view that those who are cruel to vulnerable animals will also have the capacity for cruelty to vulnerable people, including children, a view backed by research into the records of violent criminals, who will often have early convictions for animal cruelty.

Worrying, therefore is a finding of some recent research by parenting website Netmums amongst 800 children aged 7-16. This found that animal harm videos on the internet were the most commonly-viewed inappropriate content by under-16’s, with more than 25% admitting to watching them.

And a larger proportion too ashamed to admit it?

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