Full moons have long been associated with werewolves and witchcraft, but an animal welfare charity says they could also be linked to a rise in animal abuse.
Britain’s RSPCA has released statistics showing a correlation between an increase in reports of abuse and the lunar cycle.
The charity has seen a rise in calls so far this year of around 12%, or 169 reports, following a full moon.
The highest number of calls during a full moon happened in April, when it received 339 more calls — a spike of more than 28% than the day before.
RSPCA staff officer Dermot Murphy said: “We can’t explain why this phenomenon occurs, although there are anecdotal reports from emergency services that they also see an increase.
“It could be the fact there is increased light during the full moon so people out and about are more likely to spot an animal in distress, or the legend is true and it really does bring out the darker side of human nature.”
The link between full moons and extremes in behaviour has been identified in past scientific studies.
Michal Zimecki of the Polish Academy of Sciences analysed dozens of studies that take lunar activity into account, and argued that a full moon could affect criminal activity and health.
A three-month study of 1,200 inmates at Armley jail, Leeds, in the 1990s, found a marked increase in violent incidents during the first and last quarter of each lunar month.
The RSPCA released its figures on Halloween to highlight how “overwhelmed” the charity has been with calls this year, with one every 30 seconds.
Officials say they are bracing themselves to take more than 140,000 more reports of animal abuse, abandonment and neglect in the run up to Christmas.
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