The fluff on Familiars is also pretty horrifying. The sound stages state that standard procedure when creating a familiar is to form a contract with a specified end, and when it is completed, the familiar will lose their sentience and revert back to being a normal animal, which is the equivalent of lobotomizing someone down to animal intelligence.
How about the TSAB itself? They've been shown to employ children as young as twelve to be their enforcers, and as we have seen from Nanoha, they aren't immune to getting hurt badly, crippled, possibly even killed. No one child that young should have to suffer that badly, but that's not the end of it. Then we have seen them putting children as young as nine years old on trial with the very real possibility that they could face hundreds of years, basically life, in prison. Far from treating the TSAB as a well-meaning established body that wants to act for the greater good, it paints them instead as a military dictatorship whose word is law and routinely traumatizes young children.
Fate learned everything she knows about magic and combat from Precia's familiar, Linith and it's also implied that a familiar's knowledge comes mostly from it's master. Therefore it can be assumed that Precia has knowledge of magical usage in combat beforehand or gained it through extensive research.
Linith is Precia's familiar, created from her pet cat. However, both she and Alicia were found dead during the day the reactor accident happened. So, how did the dead cat became a familiar? Simple, she was revived by Precia first, possibly to test the effectiveness of Project F.