My mother (Cheryl Morris, who’s commented on my blog before) used to be a social worker. Some of the stories she’s told me are horrifying.
Yesterday morning she pointed out that, in the US, child welfare laws came out of the movements to prevent cruelty to animals, something she was surprised by when she became a social worker. After our conversation, she sent me this link from an SPCA site.
In 1874 when the first case of child abuse was alleged, a horribly graphic case of a young girl beaten, it was the ASPCA that was called to advocate for the child. At the time, children were considered property and there were no laws against their abuse. However, there were animal-protection laws in place and the girl was successfully defended by using the animal protection law, since, her attorney argued, she was an animal. Subsequently, Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children rapidly came into existence. The link between violence to children and violence to animals has been studied ever since.
So, there you go.