cruelty(redirected from cruelties)
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the infliction of pain or distress unnecessarily.
cruelty to animals
an offence under the Protection of Animals Act or similar legislation. The definition of unnecessary varies between countries and from time to time in the one country. Under the impetus of a great body of community compassion the threhold has been greatly lowered in recent times. Determination of the prevailing standard of cruelty can only be decided by the courts.
It is now taken to include, besides physical assault and surgery without anesthesia, deprival of food, water and shelter. The worst kinds of cruelty are susceptible to the heaviest penalty, under the classification of aggravated cruelty.