Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael Lynch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Cochran, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Franz, Esq.


criminology, animal cruelty, conflict theory, economic factors, interest groups, legislation


The current study examines the association of macro-level economic factors and the creation or enactment animal cruelty laws across the states at a fixed time. Criminologists have postulated that economic factors influence the legal system (Chambliss and Seidman, 1971). This thesis addresses whether state-level economic and related macro-level factors influences the amount and types of state animal cruelty legislation lawmakers enact. To do so, this thesis examined animal cruelty legislation and their association with measures of agricultural and farm production, Democratic Party, Republican Party, and pro-animal interest groups across all states of the United States for the time period (2012-2013). Findings suggested that three out of the four variables had significant relationships. The Democratic Party had the strongest relationship, but only Animal interests groups had a significant positive relationship. In all, this study explores how economic influence can influence the creation of animal cruelty legislation. Furthermore, the study opened up theoretical methods for more comprehensive analyses on the creation of law.