An Old English proverb summarises the position of women in society until very recently: “A woman, a spaniel and a walnut tree. The more they’re beaten, the better they be.”
The patriarchal view of women extends to anyone in a perceived position of inferiority to the dominant personality (usually, but not always, a man), including homosexual partners, children, and animals and has justified the mistreatment of people due to sex, gender, sexuality and disability, and animals due to their status as non-humans for thousands of years. We believe that this is unacceptable and that this must stop.
1.2 million women and 650 thousand men experience domestic abuse every year (ONS). More than 1 in 4 women, and nearly 1 in 5 men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.
The number of homes in which companion animals may be abused each year in the UK as part of a campaign of domestic abuse, homes in which there may be many animals (Ridley, 2020). Whereas there were only 561 convictions for any form of animal abuse in 2016 (UK Home Office).
The number of abused women who have seen an animal abused in the home (Ascione, Weber and Wood, 1997).
The number of women who delay leaving an abusive partner for concern over the welfare of a companion animal (Carlisle-Frank, Frank and Neilsen, 2004).
The number of shelters in the US which cater for pets, the UK does not meet even this low standard.