Man’s exalted position as the highest beast on the food chain leads some to engage in acts of cruelty against creatures of the lower orders. Our ambivalence about how we view animals is such that though we routinely consume creatures for sustenance and hunt them for pleasure, the thought of anyone inflicting suffering over and above straight out killing them is anathema to us. We may be carnivores, but we want to believe we’re civilized about it, hence our condemnation of those we see as mistreating their prey or the domestic critters they come in contact with.

These legends communicate our societal distaste with such practices, either through condemnatory stories or tales of animal mistreatment containing twists that leave the bad guys holding the bag.

Red bullet
Two men send their Jeep Cherokee to the bottom of a frozen lake during a duck hunting mishap.

Green bullet
Three school janitors blow up their shed trying to kill a gopher.

White bullet
A horse trailer floor rots, and the horse’s legs are ground to stumps.

Red bullet
Halloween 2012 has been designated “National Kill a Pitbull Day.”

Yellow bullet
A firefighter shot and killed two dogs that roamed onto his property, then bragged about it on Facebook.

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Photograph depicts a bunny subject to animal testing at L’Oreal’s labs.

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Cosmetic companies Avon, Mary Kay and Estée Lauder have resumed animal testing.

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