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Psychological Assessment for People Working with Animals

Psychological Assessment for People Working with Animals

Please note: No images of abused animals will accompany this post for the simple reasons that they are too horrific and likely to deter some. For those interested in confirming the claims, you are welcome to do so by searching for “animal cruelty” or “dairy is scary” on YouTube.


Animal cruelty is finally gaining attention. A quick internet search will display countless cases. Switch to YouTube, and you’ll see horrendous images that can never be unseen - hear screams that can never be unheard. It’s the stuff of nightmares.


Angora requires live rabbits to have their fur torn out or sliced away with accompanying chunks of skin. After enduring that torture, the survivors are killed for the simple reason that it’s more economical to bring in new stock instead of paying the expenses necessary to nurse the survivors back to health.


Hens produce eggs and can be injected with enough bulking material to be sold as food, but males are an inconvenience. When there’s a fifty-percent chance baby chicks will be male, accommodations are made to deal with the issue. Many are thrown into grinders to become food for the hens while the rest are buried alive in landfills. We are used to images of mass graves being horrific when they contain humans. If one contained a group of Jews, Kurds, Rwandans, Romanians, or anyone else, the world would be furious. But for animals, this treatment is still a regular occurrence.

"We are used to images of mass graves being horrific when they contain humans... for animals, this treatment is still a regular occurrence."


When it comes to dairy and beef, cows are artificially inseminated on what’s known as a ‘rape rack’ before being forced to spend their entire lives standing in a stalls that contain barely enough room to accommodate their bodies. They are regularly subjected to assault by the workers, often plagued with diseases, and then killed ground into beef when they can’t endure the treatment any longer.


These are just a few of the practices animals are forced to live with. Pigs, sheep, and every other food-producing animal do not fare any better. The treatment of animals has become a gruesome scene that’s in desperate need of major changes. And while we all hope that the shocking YouTube videos bringing their living conditions to light will one day become a thing of the past, we can begin the change by addressing the temperament of the animal workers responsible for causing a significant portion of the abuse.


Nowadays, most things are regulated. There are regulations for working with chemicals, food, and even plants. While some plant advocates might say differently, most of us are under the impression that none of these things are conscious. Animals on the other hand are living and breathing which puts them into a category that should account for this differentiation. With regulation being necessary, it makes sense that working with living things would require special certification.


Because animal treatment has become appalling, psychological assessments are necessary to begin correcting the problem. For those caring for the animals as well as the corporate figures and company owners responsible for animal living conditions, regular psychological evaluations must be put into place to ensure that they are mentally fit to care for and make decisions that are in the best interest of another life. If they pass, then they’re in the right profession. But if they fail, they would legally be unauthorized to work with or be responsible for animal life at commercial farm levels. In this way, the physical cruelty animals endure would be drastically reduced.


Assessment criteria

The psychological assessment looks at five areas:

  • aggression
  • compassion
  • problematic behavior
  • medical conditions
  • attempts at remediation

"Ex-pedophiles aren’t permitted to work around children because of possible relapse. If animal abuse has previously been committed, it’s equally unethical to put more animals in the care of previous abusers."



It is necessary to know how much aggression a worker has before permitting him or her to care for animals. Animal abuse is now a felony. And because most company animal-handling practices take place out of sight, the assessment should determine the likelihood that a worker will commit a crime behind closed doors.



As commercial livestock, it’s understood that an animal’s life will be hard. With this in mind, the worker as well as all responsible corporate parties should be sympathetic toward animal hardships and take actions to do what they can to alleviate the suffering. If they are incapable or unwilling to exercise compassion or refuse to put the needs of the animal first, then certification should be immediately rejected.


Problematic Behavior

If a worker has a history of problematic behavior in the form of aggression or violence, acts of animal cruelty, or the need to assert his or her dominance, then it should be taken into consideration. At the corporate level, if the figure has a history of improper animal care, encouraging animal handling practices that are forms of animal abuse, or exercising a lack of compassion towards the living conditions of the animals being cared for, he or she should not be permitted to enter into a position that may encourage the problematic behavior to continue.


Medical Conditions

Medical conditions must be assessed to be certain that they will not interfere with the job or how it is conducted. Conditions that prevent a person from experiencing sympathy or empathy should be disqualifiers since it marks the point where exercising compassion is also impossible. With so many varieties of mental conditions, each situation would be handled on a case by case basis.


Attempts at Remediation

The last area to address are the attempts at remediation. Some remediation, such as dealing with anger management, might be acceptable to gain certification while other areas should be considered immediate disqualifiers. Ex-pedophiles aren’t permitted to work around children because of possible relapse. If animal abuse has previously been committed, it’s equally unethical to put more animals in the care of previous abusers.


With this framework, the lives of livestock can begin to take a turn for the better. While the end result ultimately remains the animal’s death, there’s a chance it might suffer less before that day comes. Animal practices have so much potential to change for the better. It’s time solutions to the daily harm being committed are taken to return real value to animal life.


Some may be wondering what would be the point of improving living conditions when the end result is still the animal’s death. The simple reason is that life should be valued and  treated that way. If some insist that the lives of developing fetuses are to be given certain rights because they are living things, then it’s only logical that the care and treatment of all living things already taking breaths and beating their hearts should be treated with greater consideration. Food production makes it a guarantee that billions of animals will continue to die every year. While death will remain the final step before they make it onto dinner plates, their lives, while they have them, should not be treated so carelessly.

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