If violations of animals’ rights are to be taken seriously, I recommend that activists and scholars could profitably examine why some harms to animals are defined as criminal, others as abusive but not criminal, and still others as neither criminal nor abusive. In exploring these questions, a narrow concept of crimes against animals would necessarily have to be rejected in favor of a more inclusive concept of harm. Without it, the meaning of animal abuse will be overwhelmingly confined to those harms that are regarded as socially unacceptable, one-on-one cases of animal cruelty. Certainly, those cases demand attention. But so, too, do those other and far more numerous institutionalized harms to animals, where abuse is routine, invisible, ubiquitous, and often defined as socially acceptable.
~ Piers Beirne (2009)