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Black Comedy Animal Cruelty

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It's telling that Furry Confusion is the least wrong thing with this scene.

Miwa: Let me get this straight. April gave you a cat, and not even five minutes into owning her, you got her mutated her into... this?
Michelangelo: Uh yes.
Miwa: Well, at least now Donnie has his retro-mutagen guinea pig.

Normally, just like child abuse, animal cruelty is a serious topic and is presented as such in most works. However, this is not the case with these instances in some works, which play animal cruelty for laughs, just like Hilariously Abusive Childhood, which is when child abuse is played for laughs.

This may lead to a Dude, Not Funny! moment if other characters in the work are disgusted by another character joking about animal cruelty. However, it's slightly less disturbing if the abused animal is sapient and a Jerkass who gets a karmic punishment at the hand of the abuser.

Compare Bad People Abuse Animals and Amusing Injuries. Also related to That Poor Cat, which is a comedic Stock Sound Effect of an animal in distress (most often a cat yowling in fear or pain). The oblivious version is And Call Him "George". A subtrope of Black Comedy and a form of Comedic Sociopathy. Can often manifest as Black Comedy Pet Death and Instant Fish Kill.

For instances where one animal abuses another animal, it only counts as this trope when the abuser is higher on the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism than the victim, but not when the two animals are equally anthropomorphic.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dog & Scissors is built entirely around this trope. It's about a teenage boy who gets killed and resurrected as a dachshund owned by his favorite novelist. Said novelist is a Sadist who enjoys tormenting him with scissors.
  • Subverted in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency: while at a Swiss hotel, Joseph teases a cat with a piece of salmon, only to kick and insult it. The music makes it seem like the scene is Played for Laughs, but immediately afterwards, Joseph admits that this was really mean, even for a Jerk with a Heart of Gold like him, and that he only did that because the stress of his situation was getting to his head.
  • One Piece: At first, Boa Hancock kicking a cat out of her way is played as horrific, but then later, after it's revealed that she's a Broken Bird beneath all her harsh attitude, she's then shown kicking a puppy and a baby seal and it's Played for Laughs.
  • Oruchuban Ebichu: Ebichu's owner (and occasionally her boyfriend) routinely abuse Ebichu whenever she says/does something stupid.
  • Ran and the Gray World: The fish in the Uruma pond never stay alive for long when Ran is practicing her magic training. Ran always feels terrible when it happens.

    Comic Books 
  • The fourth issue of Diablo House had the main story focus on a TV presenter named Senor Diablo, who at one point attempts to pull a rabbit from his hat, only to botch it by accidentally ripping the rabbit's head off. Realizing his mistake, he frantically orders the studio to cut to the horror film he's presenting.
  • Hitman (1993): One member of the misfit superhero team Section 8 is Dogwelder, whose gimmick revolves entirely around welding dead dogs to people's faces. Sometimes, the dog he uses wasn't dead at first.

    Fan Works 
  • In Total Drama Genesis, for one challenge, the teams have to fish the seven deadly fish to make "kung-fu soup". The Molting Eagles send in Cynthia to deal with it. It is Played for Laughs, particularly because the fish were established as jerks.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: Iago the parrot endures a lot of violence from Jafar - most apparent in the scene where he is violently smashed between a door closed by Jafar in a way that would kill a normal bird and clearly hurts Iago. However, Jafar never seems to have the intent to hurt Iago per se, it's more that he, out of his narcissism, doesn't care about Iago at all and treats him recklessly.
    • It's not only Jafar, either; Iago finds himself smashed in a door by elephant-Abu (with Jafar in that case) and his attempt to avoid the Sultan's reckless carpet-flying leads to him hitting a pillar instead. In fact, "when in doubt, hurt the bird" was an only partly joking "rule" for the animators.
  • The Bad Guys (2022):
    • Mr. Snake's rap sheet, lifted from the first book, goes into great detail about his successful attempt at eating an entire pet shop and the police dog of the responding officer (as well as attempts on said officer and the shop's owner). And during the Sunnyside heist, he devours most of the 200,000 guinea pigs he's meant to be rescuing.
    • When shown the cat stuck up a tree, Marmalade asks the gang what their hearts tell them to do. With the gang having been career criminals their whole lives and not understanding what being good is, they all suggest something violent — cooking it, hurting it, eating it, singing to it — before a dumbfounded Marmalade tells them they're supposed to save it.
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: When George and Harold introduce their bullying principal Mr. Krupp, their brief show of just how nasty he can be is a handmade comic of him torching a kitten (with a censor bar over it.)
  • In Incredibles 2, Jack-Jack's fight with the wild raccoon is 100% Played for Laughs. However, this is a downplayed example because for the early part of their fight, the raccoon actually holds its own. It's only after Jack-Jack begins unleashing a wide variety of his superpowers, that the raccoon realizes it's hopelessly out-classed and focuses on trying to get away.
  • In both Madagascar and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, a little elderly lady named Nana brutally beats up Alex, a fully-grown male lion, calling him a "bad kitty".
  • Shrek:
    • During their Falling-in-Love Montage, Shrek and Fiona catch a frog and a snake, and inflate them with their breath to turn them into floating balloons.
    • There's also a songbird that Fiona competes with, trying to sustain the highest and longest note, which explodes. Then she cooks and eats the eggs, because, hey, it's not like they'd survive after their parent exploded.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Blazing Saddles has Mongo punch out a horse.
  • In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, there is a room where the Oompa-Loompas are whipping a cow. Willy Wonka explains they're making whipped cream.
  • In Conan the Destroyer, Conan punches out a horse during combat, throwing the rider. Conan continued on to knock out a camel that spit on him... and then, encountering the same camel later while heavily intoxicated, punched it out again — intentionally played for laughs with the over-the-top dizzy reaction and collapse of the camel. These wanton acts severely incensed real-world animal cruelty complainants, until it was confirmed that Arnold Schwarzenegger barely tapped the animals if at all: the animals were both trained to pantomime a fall. That didn't stop the scenes from being cut from UK syndicated releases because of "animal cruelty", for the better part of two decades.
  • Deuce Bigalow has Deuce and friends successfully save all of Antoine's fish from the tank he broke, placing them all in water-filled kitchenware...only for a blind woman to turn on the blender with Antoine's prized lionfish inside.
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once: In one scene, Evelyn fights a woman who's using a tiny dog on a leash as a meteor hammer. The dog gets locked in the refrigerator, then Evelyn cuts the leash and sends the dog flying through a cubical wall.
  • A Fish Called Wanda: Ken repeatedly tries to kill the old woman who is going to testify against George but accidentally kills her dogs instead. This is made funnier by the fact that Ken loves animals and is horrified whenever he accidentally kills one of the dogs.note 
  • In National Lampoon's Vacation, in a rush to get the Griswold family going as soon as possible, Clark accidentally drives off with aunt Edna's dog still tied to the bumper. When they get pulled over, the cop takes him out of the car and angrily confronts him about how he dragged the dog to death, with the dog's corpse coming loose from the leash several miles back. Clark apologizes, saying it was an accident, the cop tearfully accepts the apology and lets him go. Back in the car, Ellen asks what happened, but Clark tries to play it off as simply having been speeding, only for the cop to give Clark the leash and say he's going to try and pick up the dog's remains. Aunt Edna was not happy.
  • In Nine Lives (2016), two security guards decide to taze a cat, and this is portrayed as being funny.
  • A Shot in the Dark: Inspector Clouseau, while going undercover as a hunter, angrily shoots the crow that's splattered on him... and is immediately arrested for hunting without a license.
  • UHF: One part of Raul's Wild Kingdom has Raul try to teach poodles to fly by throwing them out of the window, which only results in a pile of dead poodles below the window.

  • The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy:
    • In Life, the Universe and Everything, Ford Prefect mentions that he went insane once while stranded on ancient Earth and took up animal cruelty as a hobby. He claims to be responsible for the evolution of the giraffe, though just how is left to the reader's imagination.
    • By the time of Mostly Harmless, he's developed a passionate opposition to cruelty to all animals except geese, so when he's ordering room service and charging it to his expenses, he requests a tremendous quantity of pâté de foie grasnote .
  • In Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts plays croquet with live hedgehogs as balls and live flamingos as mallets. The hedgehogs clearly don't take it very well, as they take the first opportunity to scurry away. Since she's an Ax-Crazy tyrant, the animal abuse may be part of her characterization, but it's still presented as silly and comical.
  • The Golden Ass, even though it's a case of Forced Transformation mixed with Laser-Guided Karma for trying to insistently to meddle in the affairs of witchcraft, the sheer number of bad things that happens to the protagonist turned donkey is so astounding it's almost funny. Among various things, he's frequently beaten for different reasons, bitten by some other donkeys, and mistreated by a particularly cruel boy who not only refuses to feed him but also tells passersby that he's a lazy beast who tries to knock down and mount girls and boys, much to the protagonist' ire.
  • In Just Crazy!, after Sooty literally eats Andy and Danny's homework, they put him through all sorts of hell to make him throw it up. This includes making the dog smoke cigarettes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Muppet Show has Marvin Suggs and his Muppaphone, little sentient balls of fluff that Marvin "plays" like a xylophone. At least one guest star found it appalling, and more often than not Marvin got his comeuppance, like when he played "Witch Doctor" and a real witch doctor turns him into one of his Muppaphone creatures.
    • The same can't be said for the Muppets Tonight sketch "Swift Wits". The sketch would always end with Carl eating a poor animal who didn't do a thing wrong, and he rarely ever got punished for it.
  • The Muppaphone was probably based on The Mouse Organ from Monty Python's Flying Circus, which was also played by hitting the mice with hammers. The skit ended with him being booed off the stage by the horrified audience.
  • In an episode of El Chavo del ocho, when Don Ramón accuses Doña Florinda's cat of eating his goldfish, he pulls out his old matador sword, and cape, and goes offscreen to kill the cat. We hear the cat mewing, and Don Ramón screaming, and after a brief time, the cat meows a mariachi send-off, and Don Ramón comes into frame, victorious.
  • The Boys (2019) has a few cases involving sea life, given The Deep can talk to them. Deep tries to rescue a Friendly, Playful Dolphin, but he flies through the windshield of his vehicle before getting run over by a truck. Deep listens to a lobster being sold at a supermarket, decides to take it, not knowing that means being cut open up by a staffer. Deep puts a whale in front of the title group's speedboat, the driver floors it and pushes the thing all the way to the beach. Then Homelander forces him to eat his octopus Best Friend alive as it begs for mercy.
  • A Prince Among Men had a brief gag in its first episode where Gary Prince accidentally presses a button that causes his garage door to open- whilst his guard dog was tied up to it. Luckily, the dog survives and attacks Gary.
  • Saturday Night Live: Not physical cruelty, however one false advertisement sketch was for a training course for pet owners to teach their dogs to behave by utilizing sarcasm (Backhanded Apology, Stealth Insult, Flippant Forgiveness, NOT!, etc.) Cue Will Ferrell insulting his dog for three minutes straight.
  • A Touch of Cloth: The Coroner enters one scene with the immortal line, "I took the amusing precaution of dissecting the cat!"note 


    Newspaper Comics 
  • Garfield: The titular character takes every opportunity to abuse Odie, and this is always Played for Laughs. It's a borderline example, as Garfield and Odie are both pets to a human, but Garfield is a Partially Civilized Animal whereas Odie is a Nearly Normal Animal.
    • Jim Davis has stated that he's able to get away with all the abuse Garfield inflicts on Odie, and Jon as well, because Garfield is a cat. If Garfield were human, Davis states, the strip would have been cancelled long ago.
    • One strip had Jon threaten to break Garfield's legs if he didn't stop clawing at the drapes.
    • Garfield has found himself on the receiving end of this trope numerous times, almost always due to his own fault, like mocking a poodle's haircut or annoying people by singing on the fence in the middle of the night so they throw things like boots and flowerpots at him.
  • Garfield's predecessor Jon had two examples:
    • One strip features Lyman beating up Spot (Odie's prototype) as a punishment for peeing on the floor. Garfield just smugly comments "So now we know why he's called Spot".
    • Another strip is a letter from a reader who asks Garfield on how to cure their pet cat's "sniffles", trying all sorts of unorthodox methods such as swinging the cat by the tail or putting its head in a a plastic bag. Garfield, after expressing disgust over the above methods, sarcastically suggests shoving a cherry bomb into the cat's nose.

  • In episode six of Mystery Show, lunchbox illustrator Dan talks about the lengthy approval process involved with Micky and Minnie lunchboxes and how one year, he got so fed up that he submitted a picture where Pluto had been run over by a car.
  • Episode seventeen of Well There's Your Problem involved a prototype atmospheric tube rail. Upon learning the prototype's sealant was made of tallow and beeswax and would apparently attract rats during hot summers, the hosts began joking about the rats getting sucked through holes in the sealant and getting catapulted to the end station as Ludicrous Gibs.

    Video Games 
  • Banjo-Tooie: One of the new moves the duo can learn involves Banjo whacking enemies with Kazooie like a hammer. (The Japanese version calls it Harisen-Kazooie, making it equivalent to the Japanese harisen fan). This is also their Forward Smash move in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • Destroy All Humans!: The first area you go to is a rural Midwestern town with cattle. Missions will have you abducting cows, probing cows, throwing cows around with telekinesis, and blasting cows with your array of weaponry. These are actual missions and side diversions in the game, not just things that the game allows you to do.
  • The snail-people of Sashimi Bay in Hell Pie have converted the still-living body of a beached whale (beached on top of a mountain no less) into a sushi restaurant. The snail-people are seen carving up its flesh for meat, and at several points, giant harpoons spear through its body. By the time Nate blows the poor thing up, it seems like a Mercy Kill.
  • Downplayed in Persona 5, when Morgana is prompted to be a toy that meows when you press his head. There are three options: Pressing gently, pressing forcefully, and "Time to button mash". If you have seen a lot of livestreamers doing a walkthrough in this game, you can probably guess which one they would choose.
  • Team Fortress 2: Saxton Hale's job is running a very large weapon and hat manufacturer. His vocation is fighting animals for no reason, to the point where one of the Saxton Hale comics cheerfully promises "AN APE WILL DIE ON EVERY PAGE!" He has rendered multiple species extinct, exclusively in hand-to-hand combat. Saxton's ex Margaret isn't much better, with one flashback showing her looking sadly out of a window at the rain, the very picture of depression...while holding a tiger in a headlock. Their Arch-Enemy back in the day, Charles Darling, instead wants to capture every animal in the world and put them in a Menagerie of Misery, to the point where he has the last members of several endangered species standing on boxes, poking their heads through trophy mounts, so he can "stare into their hilarious defeated eyes" whenever he wants. All of this is played for comedy, although to be fair, at least it breaks up the usual Black Comedy People Cruelty.
    Saxton: (in flashback) You Monster!! Those panthers belong in the wild! On the ground! Bleeding to death after a fair fight, like nature intended!

    Web Animation 
  • asdfmovie 9:
    Mother: Jimmy, take out the dog.
    Jimmy: [puts on sunglasses and draws a gun] Yes, mother.
    [Jimmy shoots. The dog yelps. Jimmy and his mother are splattered in blood.]
    Mother: ...for a walk, Jimmy!
  • The Kevin Temmer Tunes video "Quirky Bird Murderer" is about a young girl singing a catchy and upbeat song about killing birds, to the horror and disgust of a nearby boy.
  • McBusters: The man's dog getting killed by a bush of burgers in in the first video isn't played for laughs, but McBusters 3 features a spoof of one of ABC's stop-motion After These Messages bumpers where the animal cruelty is intended as a joke.
    Dog: After these messages— (Fire hydrant shoots him in the face, exposing his skull)
    Fire Hydrant: We'll be right back!
  • Pokémon Rusty is a Dark Parody of Pokémon that tells the misdeeds of Rusty; a trainer who has some warped ideas about how to train Pokemon. The harm he inflicts on his Pokemon isn't out of malice, mind you, but mostly out of sheer ignorance of how Pokemon actually work.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Archer, Cheryl keeps a pet ocelot named Babou in a completely empty room in her family mansion. Archer refers to the ocelot's room as "Meowschwitz".
  • This was prominent in earlier episodes of Beavis and Butt-Head. Standout examples include them playing baseball with a frog, painting a cat, blowing up insects with fireworks, and sticking Tom Anderson's poodle in a tumble dryer. When MTV censors started coming down on the show's content, this was one of the first things to go.
  • The title character in the Tex Avery cartoon "The Cat That Hated People" goes through all manner of abuse, including, but not limited to: having bags tied to his paws, getting grabbed by the tail and getting swung back and forth, almost getting cut in half with an axe, getting stepped on repeatedly, kicked, and hammered into the ground - all of it played for laughs.
  • This is common in The Crumpets, notably with the family's dog T-Bone getting kicked by accident or on purpose, or hurt through other means. More unluckily, whenever sparrows appear, they will almost always get injured or die. Other cases can be hypocritical, such as a bird lover massacring the birds taking refuge in her house with a flamethrower since failing to get married to her fellow bird career, and one of the Crumpets caught on live TV for throwing a hugging pink penguin to a van, just after delivering a speech about protecting and loving animals. And one episode ends with a nearly entire menagerie (which was cramped in a trailer) dying after a vehicle collision throws the bundle of animals to a brick wall, followed by their remains carried in a funeral procession. In season 3, at least, the animal cruelty/pain jokes are still there, albeit they've gotten less gloomy.
  • Family Guy:
    • Probably because he has "human" qualities, almost anything that happens to Brian Griffin counts as this. For instance, Stewie beating up Brian comes to mind.
    • In "Episode 420", Peter tries to shave Quagmire's new cat with a straight razor, and he ends up killing it.
    • Off-camera, Peter fails to realise that poking holes in a frog (rather than poking holes in the box) will kill the frog. On camera, after dumping the frog out of the box and noticing it is dead, Peter doesn't want to touch the corpse and spends the better part of two minutes attempting to scoop it out the window by lifting it with the box lid, the box, or both, with the dead frog limply collapsing over and over each time he fails.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "The Love God", Mabel "weds" her pig Waddles and Stan's goat Gompers by duct-taping them together.
  • Kaeloo:
    • Mr. Cat, an anthropomorphic cat, abuses non-anthropomorphic sheep by kicking them, setting them on fire, and attacking them with weapons. Fortunately, the sheep in question are Made of Iron and able to survive all of this.
    • Pretty has also done this on occasion; the very second episode she was featured in featured her shooting a horsenote  and threatening to euthanize a different one, for petty reasons.
    • One episode had Stumpy play a new game where people get into cars with bleating sheep, and the object of the game is to see how long you can stand the bleating before going berserk and beating the tar out of the sheep.
  • Early Mickey Mouse cartoons are full of this, with Mickey playing animals like musical instruments by making them squeal. Steamboat Willie is the most famous example; it includes a sow played like an accordion, a cat having its tail pulled and then swung around, and a goose squeezed like a bagpipe.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "Gettin' Twiggy With It" revolves around the class bully, Mitch Mitchelson, torturing Twiggy, the class hamster (who Ms. Keane let take home with him for the weekend), at his house, with the girls breaking in every time they catch him. He promises not to torture Twiggy to them...only to do it again as they leave.
  • The Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" episode "Ren Seeks Help" has an extended flashback of a young Ren torturing a frog in grotesque ways: first shoving firecrackers up its butt, then running it over with his tricycle, then hooking it up to a car battery, then mutilating it with a chainsaw. After all that, Ren refuses to kill the frog, and we see that the frog is still alive 10-20 years later, living in horrible agony.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Duffless," Nelson's science fair project is called "Wasting Squirrels with a B.B. Gun," and there are a bunch of squirrel pelts decorating his booth.
    • A photo from "Dog of Death" shows Homer strangling Santa's Little Helper. In the same episode, a veterinarian struggles valiantly to save the life of a hamster, with all of the intensity and passion of a trauma doctor in a hospital. He fails to save the life, and issues a maudlin complaint... and then tosses the corpse through a basketball hoop into the garbage, replete with a ricochet off the wall.
    • Near the end of "Goo Goo Gai Pan", Homer gets bitten by a baby panda, causing him to strangle it while yelling "I'll endanger you!". He is, in turn, strangled by its mother.
    • A scandalous photo from "Homerazzi" shows Homer strangling a deer.
    • In "Maximum Homerdrive", the Simpson family (excluding Lisa) eat at The Slaughterhouse, a steakhouse that kills the cattle right in front of you before eating it, which in Mr. Burns' case means needlessly killing a half-dozen cows before he decides he doesn't want meat at all. And what's more, literally everything (the menus, the candelabra) is made of animal parts.
  • Tom and Jerry:
  • Looney Tunes: Sylvester the Cat will often get beaten up by Granny or someone else after trying to catch Tweety Bird.
  • Sheep in the Big City hinted at this in the episode "Beauty and the Bleats", where Lady Richington attends an anti-sheep party and states that she's impressed with an off-screen sheep piñata being realistic. A man tells her that it isn't a piñata, implying that the guests are actually brutalizing a live sheep to the point that its guts splatter out.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: The central gag of Elmyra Duff is that she is so brain-dead stupid that she doesn't know or understand that her treatment of animals, which she believes is affectionate, is torturous at best and lethal at worst (not even when she has a humongous cemetery in her backyard to tell her otherwise). The series' Halloween episode even revolved around Elmyra showing some of her most brutal "cares" (including a horse that jumped off a cliff rather than be around her for a second longer) and them all coming back to life as zombies to try to get revenge... only for them to be scared into running away from Elmyra's glee at seeing them again and the subsequent "caring").


Video Example(s):


The Nerd and Ecco

The Nerd takes out his rage for the Ecco the Dolphin games on Ecco himself, pulling him out of the TV just to beat him.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / BlackComedyAnimalCruelty

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