The British charity Barnardo’s, released a poll indicating that a substantial number of British adults fear children and characterize their behavior as animal-like.

Martin Narey, the charity’s chief executive, said: “It is appalling that words like ‘animal’, ‘feral’ and ‘vermin’ are used daily in reference to children. These are not references to a small minority of children, but represent the public view of all children.

As historical examples of the use of animalistic language an imagery to describe the poor, non-white races, enslaved peoples, women, and other marginalized groups shows, describing any group of human beings in non-human terms is a powerful rhetorical weapon that encourages bigotry and denial of basic human rights. This is an incredibly blatant example of prejudice against some of the most vulnerable members of our world community. And I don’t believe these sentiments are particular to the British alone. Hatred, neglect, and fear of children is equally common in the United States, despite all of the political talk about “family values.”

Thanks to Hanna for the link.