PETA Wants Jail Time And Psychiatric Intervention For Woman Who Set Rabbit On Fire

For Immediate Release:
22 March 2010

Sam Glover 020 7357 9229, ext 229; [email protected]

Stockport – The London-based PETA Foundation has sent a letter to Stockport Magistrates’ Court calling on the court to sentence 22-year-old Katey Barber – who set fire to a rabbit named Bunny in September 2009 – to the maximum penalty possible. In the letter, the PETA Foundation also asks that the woman be permanently banned from owning animals and be required to undergo a psychological evaluation followed by mandatory counselling. According to news reports, Barber prodded Bunny with a stick before throwing a burning piece of paper into his hutch and shutting the door. She was then seen laughing while the rabbit screamed in pain. Bunny survived, suffering from scorched fur and scarring. Barber has admitted to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

“Acts of violence against animals are bad enough, but they are also often a precursor to escalating antisocial behaviour”, says the PETA Foundation’s education manager, Suzanne Barnard. “People should be deeply concerned when anyone who delights in deliberately inflicting pain is found in their midst, and PETA encourages the court to take strong protective measures.”

Research in psychology and criminology reveals that a consistent pattern of cruelty to animals often precedes violent crimes against humans. With its letter to the magistrate, the PETA Foundation enclosed a report detailing this indisputable connection. The group also notes that the American Psychiatric Association identifies mistreatment of animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders and that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation uses reports of crimes against animals to analyse the threat potential of suspected and known criminals.

Many, if not all, well-known serial rapists and murderers have a history of cruelty to animals. Child-killers Mary Bell, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables as well as multiple murderers Ian Huntley, Thomas Hamilton, Fred West, Dennis Nilsen, Ian Brady and Jeffrey Dahmer all started on their paths to violence by deliberately harming animals.

The PETA Foundation’s letter to the Stockport Magistrates’ Court is available upon request. For more information, please visit