n Acta Criminologica: African Journal of Criminology & Victimology - A criminological assessment of ritualistic mutilation as a component of predatory theft of livestock in rural South Africa

Volume 31 Number 4
  • ISSN : 1012-8093


Theft of livestock is increasingly threatening the South African farming community, endangering food security. An alarming occurrence is the ritualistic and sadistic ways in which some stock thieves kill livestock. Apart from major financial losses, these violent and cruel acts also pose a risk to rural safety and impact emotionally on livestock owners and their staff. This phenomenon is under-researched and no relevant research results are available on the topic. In this article, the methods used by ritualistic predators are probed and linked to possible personality traits of someone that is capable of displaying these levels of animal cruelty and violence. This profiling is hypothetical and based on a comparison of animal abuse and livestock mutilation, and violence perpetrated against humans. It is further postulated that these acts are perpetrated by individuals with antisocial personality and other antisocial disorders.

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