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Furry, four-legged friends deserve more compassion than human beings, according to students at Northeastern University. Two professors at the private research school surveyed 240 students aged 18 to 25 to determine if they considered animal cruelty more heartbreaking than human violence.

From BostonMagazine.com:

According to a study conducted by Northeastern University sociology professors Jack Levin and Arnold Arluke, people feel more empathy towards a hurt, or battered dog, than they do for an adult human. The study also showed that people have the same amount of empathy for a puppy—compared to an older dog—as they do for an infant in cases where harm may have been inflicted.

The professors described their process and provided some analysis: