I have always been fascinated by the minds of criminals; serial killers in particular. I own countless books on the subject, have seen every documentary and hope to study criminal psychology in the future. Despite all the research, I have never been able to grasp the mentality behind such shocking crimes. It wasn’t until I became vegan, I started to notice the undeniable parallels between the attempted justifications from serial killers and society’s defense of animal exploitation and killing.
I have compiled 17 genuine quotes from 15 different killers and described the similarities between them and the ‘reasons’ people have given to exploit, hunt, imprison, eat and test on animals.
“I love to hunt” … “I love people” – David Berkowitz
Berkowitz claimed in one of his letters to police that he loved hunting and also loved people. This is obviously contradictory to a rational person but is it not dissimilar to those who claim to love animals but also exploit, kill and eat animals.
About David Berkowitz
AKA the Son of Sam, Berkowitz was convicted of 8 shooting attacks in New York City, in 1976. These attacks resulted in the deaths of 6 people and left 7 others injured. He rapidly became the target of New York’s biggest known manhunt, whilst he openly taunted the police department through letters containing promises of further crimes. He was apprehended in 1977 and to this day remains incarcerated.
“I had a compulsion to do it.” - Ed Gein
Non vegans often say they could “never give up cheese” or they’re “obsessed with bacon” but compulsion is not a valid reason for killing people, so why is it even considered a valid reason to kill animals?
About Ed Gein
AKA the Butcher of Plainfield, Ed Gein was a body snatcher and a killer, operating in the 1940s and 50s. Gein confessed to 9 counts of stealing bodies/body parts from their graves and police searches of his home revealed large amounts of artifacts made from human bone and skin. He was tried for only one murder (although he admitted to another) and until his death in 1984, was imprisoned in mental health institutions.
“My consuming lust was to experience their bodies. I viewed them as objects, as strangers.” – Jeffrey Dahmer
With society being taught from an early age to treat non human animals as nothing but commodities, is it really that strange for the line to blur between non human animals and humans? The majority of people see animals as mere objects and their lives and welfare are deemed inferior to the wants of humans, regardless of how unnecessary that want may be. So should a person value their own needs highly enough to kill an innocent animal (as they’ve been taught), they may just value their own needs highly enough to kill a human.
“the killing was a means to an end…” – Jeffrey Dahmer
I cannot count the amount of times I have been told “it’s just how it is” when referring to the many ways humans exploit and kill animals. Dead animals are the direct result of a horrendous amount of industries created by humans and these dead animals are considered nothing more than a means to an end.
About Jeffrey Dahmer
AKA the Milwaukee Cannibal, Dahmer confessed to 16 murders after his arrest in 1991 and eventually received a life sentence for each of them. After his arrest, Dahmer began practicing christianity and even questioned whether him living was a sin in itself. Despite having evaded one murder attempt against him, Dahmer was killed by a fellow inmate in 1994.
“Big deal, death comes with the territory.” – Richard Ramirez
In order for us to accept death so readily as a necessary evil, we must be exposed to it as children. From an early age we are forced to consume animal products and subsequently conditioned to consider the lives of animals as insignificant and not a “big deal”. It’s not that far fetched an idea, that someone may redirect that conditioning towards humans.
About Richard Ramirez
Convicted of over 40 different crimes including murder, sexual assault and burglary, Ramirez was sentenced to death by gas chamber in 1989, however he died of health complications whilst still on death row in 2013.
“I just liked to kill” – Ted Bundy
It feels like every day, someone is telling me they eat dead animals just because they “like it”. They “like” animal tested products or “like” going to the zoo… But why is liking something enough reason to take a life? Pretty selfish really, whether it’s a human life or not.
“You feel the last bit of breath leaving their body. You’re looking into their eyes. A person in that situation is God!” – Ted Bundy
Personally, I will never understand why people get enjoyment from taking a life but unfortunately, some people do. I have heard animal hunting described as a way to feel powerful and superior and it seems Bundy felt the same way about his killings. Bundy also took possessions from his victims as trophies, much like trophy hunters.
About Ted Bundy
Despite confessing to 30 murders shortly before his death, his actual victim count is not known for sure. He was killed by electric chair in 1989.
It wasn’t as dark and scary as it sounds. I had a lot of fun…” – Albert DeSalvo
This reminds me of conversations I have had about how “not every farm is like that” and “it’s not as bad as vegans make it out to be.” The fact of the matter is, no matter how the industry dress it up, animals suffer and animals die for ‘food’, ‘science’, ‘entertainment’, ‘fashion’ and any other ‘use’ humans deem necessary.
About Albert DeSalvo
DeSalvo’s confession of being the ‘Boston strangler’ remains disputed as there was no DNA evidence to corroborate his confession which held various inconsistencies. He later recanted his confession whilst serving a life sentence for rape charges. DeSalvo was murdered in prison in 1973 but no one was ever convicted of this crime.
“I like children, they are tasty.” – Albert Fish
Images of cute baby animals on the internet always have hoards of comments from people claiming how ‘tasty’ they think the animal looks which to me, is just as creepy as Fish describing children as “tasty.”
Fish also claimed he sacrificed a child to amend his sins and believed “angels would prevent it if God did not approve”. I often hear people justifying their actions by claiming it is God’s will and exclaiming God put animals here for us to eat but they have no more proof of that than Fish does.
About Albert Fish
Sentenced to death for three counts of murder in 1935, Fish was suspected of five further murders that he was not officially held accountable for. In 1936, Fish was executed by electric chair, his last words being reported as, “I don’t know why I’m here”.
“It’d be just like walking to the drug store.” – Charles Manson
The normality of abusing animals in every day life is shocking to me, but not to most. The majority of people do not think twice about the animals who suffer and die every day, for such a huge array of products and services. Buying a cleaning spray that has been brutally tested on animals or drinking a milkshake derived from cows suffering, is as normal as walking to the drug store.
About Charles Manson
Manson is currently serving 9 life sentences in prison, despite originally being sentenced to death in 1971. He managed to avoid execution as the death penalty was abolished in the state of California in 1972.
“I like killing people because it is so much fun. It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest because man is the most dangerous animal of them all.” – Zodiac Killer
It’s as simple as that; he enjoyed it. As sickening as this may seem in the context of a serial killer, is it that different from a hunter enjoying hunting or a meat eater enjoying meat? Enjoying something does not necessarily make it ok to take a life.
About the Zodiac Killer
Although the Zodiac claimed to have killed as many as 37 people, investigators have only been able to officially confirm 7. Despite sending messages and codes to newspapers and law enforcement apparently containing their true identity, the Zodiac killer was never caught.
“I love my wife dearly. I cannot rationally pinpoint any reason for doing this.” — Charles Whitman
Most arguments I hear from non vegans aren’t really rational reasons, they are excuses. Whitman clearly skips the excuses but it boils down to the same point; there is no rational reason to take a life. Whitman killed his own wife and mother but claimed he, “loved this woman with all [his] heart”. He also stated he, “was only trying to do a quick thorough job” which sounds eerily similar to the ‘humane meat’ mentality.
About Charles Whitman
Whitman became known as the ‘Texas Tower Sniper’ due to his ruthless killing spree in 1966. After killing his own mother and wife, he stood upon the University of Texas Tower observation deck and opened fire for over an hour and a half. He murdered 14 people and injured a further 31. Whitman was eventually killed by police officers at the scene.
“For all these things I am not in the least bit sorry.” – Carl Panzram
Panzram never indicated any remorse for his horrific crimes and spoke of them like they were nothing. It’s almost how it feels when non vegans talk about animal exploitative industries or animal ‘foods’ without in any way acknowledging the thousands of animals suffering and dying, due to their own habits.
About Carl Panzram
After being imprisoned for multiple murders, Panzram killed a prison employee and subsequently received the death penalty. He was executed by hanging in 1930.
“Just a cold-blooded killer … killing everybody he saw for no good reason” – Edmund Kemper
These words came from Kemper when describing serial killer Herbert Mullin, with whom he was incarcerated. Him talking this way about a serial killer when he, himself was a killer doesn’t make much sense. It makes about as much sense as non vegans creating an uproar about certain cases of animal cruelty when they, themselves partake in animal cruelty every day.
About Edmund Kemper
AKA the ‘Co-ed Butcher’, Kemper murdered his own grandparents when he was just a teenager. After his release from prison, he went on to kill 8 people, including his own mother, and was put in prison for life.
“How does one cure himself? I can’t stop it” – Dennis Rader
“Humans have always eaten meat” is a popular argument against veganism. To me, this suggests they don’t believe humans to be capable of change but I think history and evolution prove otherwise. The idea that a person “can’t stop” would never be accepted as a reason to kill humans so why would it be a reason to kill animals?
About Dennis Rader
Also referred to as the ‘BTK Killer’ (bind, torture, kill), Rader is currently serving 10 consecutive life sentences for multiple murders between 1974 and 1991. Before his arrest, BTK sent numerous taunting letters to the police and local media outlets, detailing his crimes. Rader was arrested in 2005.
“How’s this for a headline? ‘French Fries.” – James French
Although French was making light of his own death, I’ve included this quote as a comparison to society’s inappropriate obsession with making jokes about animals dying. I have seen countless examples of people behaving like animal deaths are something to laugh about but it takes a pretty twisted mind to laugh at the suffering and death of others.
About James French
French was serving a life sentence for murder when he killed his cellmate, supposedly as a suicidal, deliberate attempt to receive the death penalty. He was executed by electric chair in 1966.
“Good people are always so sure they’re right.” – Barbara Graham
There are so many non vegans considered by themselves and others, as ‘good people’. They do not acknowledge the killing or exploitation of animals as ‘bad’ acts because society states as such. Despite the point blank refusal to recognise the mistreatment of animals as a bad thing, many of these people would never commit an isolated act of animal cruelty themselves and would be outraged at someone who did. So why is paying someone to commit mass murder of animals more acceptable than one individual case?
About Barbara Graham
Graham was sentenced to death by gas chamber in 1955 for murder, carried out under the motive of robbery.
So although there are only 17 quotes featured here, I stumbled across many more whilst researching for this piece. It is also worth addressing the MacDonald Triad and it’s inclusion of animal cruelty as an early sign of sociopathic behavior. How can one individual person harming animals be so worthy of hatred and prosecution whilst so many industries and consumers kill animals by the thousands every day, without a second thought?
For a slightly different spin on this topic, you can watch Peta’s video ‘If Serial Killers Said the Stuff Meat-Eaters Say‘.