Most of us agree that gratuitous cruelty to animals is wrong. But why? Is it because people who are cruel to animals are more likely to be cruel to human beings? Or is it because the animals have an absolute right not to suffer? Then again, are there more complex arguments about rights and responsibilities to be made?
It’s fascinating territory to judge by three books published this year. Those who doubt the circumstances implicit in the second question above should taking a detour throughThe Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence, which caused a minor storm in 2009.