In September 2007, two animal welfare organizations, the League Against Cruel Sports and the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, will hold an “International Conference on the Relationship between Animal Abuse and Human Violence.” Although the conference will be held at Oxford University, the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics is, according to the Assistant to the Director of Public Affairs at Oxford University, “not an official or affiliated centre” of the University.
The conference information that is provided states:
The conference will highlight the importance of animal ethics by exploring the following questions:
- Is there empirical evidence of a link between animal abuse and violence to humans or anti-social behaviour?
- How should we interpret the evidence?
- If there is a link, what are the ethical implications?
- What are the implications for social and legal policy?
The purpose of the conference is to enable people to better understand the nature of animal abuse, the motivation that leads to cruel acts and the implications for human as well as animal welfare.” A “key research” area of the Centre “is the link between animal abuse and human violence.
There are two problems—serious and related—with approaching animal ethics in this way.