Regular readers will know about my vast experience across all aspects of animal welfare – including rescue, rehabilitation, investigation, legal, the prosecution of abusers and education etc. – with the Dublin SPCA.
Therefore, you’ll understand when I tell you that whenever I’ve dealt with and investigated horrendous cruelty cases, it has been my experience that some of those who harm animals never stop there.
I mention the above as a general observation, but prompted by the video showing so-called ‘role model’, 6’3”, 16-stone Kurt Zouma, a professional football player perpetrating not one (which would be sickening enough), but several acts of cruelty against his defenceless, vulnerable, pet cat!
The shocking footage, which emerged on social media last week, showed scenes so horrific, I really didn’t want to watch it. However, in order for me to make an informed comment, I sat, crying and repulsed, as I witnessed this heavily-built man kick his poor family pet across a room like a piece of rubbish. The abuse didn’t end there. The harrowing footage was videoed by another individual, who due to their laughter, clearly believes that mindless cruelty towards a sentient little being is not just hilarious, it’s also a form of entertainment. They recorded Zouma slapping the terrified pet in what I can only describe as being several further acts of despicable thuggery. Actually readers, I could describe these disturbing scenes using more colourful language but, as this is a family publication, I won’t.
As an animal lover and advocate, it is my wish that this creep, who has made his name as a ‘sportsman’, is prosecuted and jailed because it is critically important his cruel and loathsome behaviour is taken seriously. I say this for the sake of his poor cat, for the sake of other animals in his care, and for the sake of all animals in general. I also say it for the sake of those people who’re at risk from such sickening, horrific and shocking behaviour, and for the sake of the child featured in the video who tried to protect the poor cat, only to have the little creature forcefully slapped out of their arms by Zouma.
The fact that Zouma has been fined a paltry £250,000 (€298,747) and publicly disgraced is not good enough. It’s also not good enough that he’ll allegedly be sent on ‘an animal awareness course by his club as part of his punishment’. He wouldn’t be allowed on any course delivered by me! Why? Because, if he’s prepared to be filmed viciously kicking a defenceless little creature around his €2 million mansion, and have it posted on social media, I’d be asking what he might be doing to this poor kitty when the cameras stop rolling?
I know many of you reading this may see animals as mere ‘things’, but they are not! Animals are sentient beings who feel fear, pain, hunger, thirst, love and joy, etc., and the sooner people like Zouma recognise this, the sooner we can reduce the amount of unnecessary suffering, harm and death being inflicted on them.
If, like me, you were sickened by Zouma’s actions and by all acts of cruelty perpetrated against animals, you’ll understand it when I say that not only do we have a duty to protect and respect them, we also have a moral obligation to shield, preserve and defend them.
Parents must empower and protect kids against online bullying
A survey carried out recently by internet charity CyberSafeKids found that a staggering 28% of children had experienced at least one form of cyber bullying, with the most common experiences being left out of chat groups or receiving hurtful messages. Yep, some kids/teens can behave like horrible little monsters!
As someone who has a teenage granddaughter, I find the above statistics to be very disturbing. Having researched this subject myself (when my granddaughter was forced to go online for school lessons due to Covid restrictions), I found that many children who’re bullied online, feel unable to confide in their parents for a variety of reasons. These can range from feeling embarrassed, feeling ashamed, or from being worried they’ll be judged for visiting certain sites etc. That’s understandable – the poor kids have enough to contend with these days without worrying about the possibility of opening themselves up to ridicule.
What’s not understandable, nor is it acceptable, is the idea that some children, when they did build up the nerve to confide in a parent were, according to BullyingUK, told to ‘ignore’ the bully!
As we know, bullying, whether it’s face-to-face or online, can (and has) led to many children self-harming, and in some tragic incidences, to take their own lives. To that end I’m appalled that any mother, father, or grandparent would offer a vulnerable child desperately seeking their help a piece of damaging and possibly detrimental ‘advice’ to ‘ignore’ the individual who’s tormenting them.
For the record, if my granddaughter (who’s only allowed go online under supervision), confided in her parents regarding concerns/abuse she experienced, be it face-to-face or virtually, not only would it be thoroughly investigated, but if Nana got involved (and I would), the bullying would end… and swiftly.
It’s a parent’s duty to acknowledge, empower and protect their kids against bullying, be it face-to-face and/or online! In my opinion, any parent/grandparent who responds to their child’s distress by instructing them to ‘ignore’ any form of intimidation rather than taking charge by investigating and ending it themselves, is both lazy and irresponsible and should have their parental licence revoked.
Rooney versus Vardy: The stuff of a Netflix scriptwriter’s dream!
Perma-tanned, Gucci-clad WAGS-at-war Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy, due to the former’s public social media accusation in October 2019 regarding the latter’s ‘leaking’ of ‘intimate’ stories about her, have got to be the stuff of a Netflix scriptwriter’s dream!
In fact, I’m certain that such a series, should it ever be made, would not only be (to coin a phrase) ‘a real potboiler’, generating record viewing figures, it’d also prove to be extremely damning. Why? Because this lengthy and public Rooney versus Vardy feud would not only give viewers plenty of comedic moments, it’d also cast a sad and ugly light on the world of those women who live their entire lives in the full glare of the public spotlight.
I’m not keeping up with all of the ‘she said, she said’ details, because I have a life. However, given the snippets I do follow, I’m certain this silly pair’s long-suffering families must be absolutely sick to their back teeth of it all.
Let me stress here and now, I hate the term WAG (wives and girlfriends)! It’s such a major kick in the face to those who marry into this world for the simple reason it serves to highlight a young woman’s status as the expensive accessory to her husband’s ego. In addition, it disgracefully defines her by her partner’s value, i.e. the more successful he is, the more valuable she is!
Given all of the above, and the gossip and toxic publicity this ridiculous feud has generated, I’d have to wonder why any intelligent young woman would want to date, let alone marry (a necessary move for peak WAG to be achieved) a professional footballer! I mean it’s hardly an aspirational career opportunity for them, now is it?