03/03/11 Torturing Kitten in Front of School

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c/o Mr. Ivan Pastar, school director, and Ms. Jasna Matulic, school psychologist

March 3, 2011

Dear Mr. Pastar and Ms. Matulic,

We are writing to you in indignation after we have received the information about a kitten tortured in front of the School of Agriculture, Food Science, and Veterinary Medicine "Stanko Ozanic" where you work.

According to the information we received, several students from the first grade of your school, from the Department of Agricultural and Phytopharmaceutical Technology, have recently kicked and scourged an already exhausted and blinded kitten. Apparently it was not their first case of animal torture and they do not show any regret or awareness about having behaved in an ethically unacceptable way.

We are aware of the fact that the students are primarily the responsibility of their parents, but this sort of behaviour indicates that their upbringing has been considerably flawed. The pedagogical staff of the school should not only point out that fact to the parents, but also inform other institutions that deal with teenage delinquency, especially the Social Welfare Centre. In children and adolescents, inclination to torture animals is an indicator of certain psychological disturbances, which can with time aggravate into forms of behaviour that threaten other people, especially the weak and defenceless, such as children, women, etc. Additional information on the serious implications of this problem and the link between torturing animals and violence against humans can be obtained at www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/index.en.php?id=397.

Considering the cruelty exhibited by your students and the heavy consequences of the committed act of sadism, we demand that you should take immediate action. Instead of relativizing and minimalizing this case and similar actions of your students, you should take corrective and educational measures in each and every case of inadequate behavior towards animals, especially their torture and killing. As witnesses to such incidents, you also have the responsibility of reporting on the students who tortured (and presumably killed) the kitten, and whose identity is known to you, and sending them to a psycho-therapeutic treatment in order to demonstrate that it is ethically unacceptable to incur pain upon other (helpless) living beings, as well as to help them learn how they can channel their feelings of anger and rage in a different, unaggressive and socially acceptable manner.

We also think that you should dedicate at least two hours per year in your curriculum, for example within the psychology course, to educating the students about their attitude to other living beings, making it clear that all of them feel pain and suffering, and that humans should treat them with respect and compassion. It is also important to punish the perpetrators austerely in order to send a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated and that you condemn all forms of violence in your school, regardless of whether they are directed against humans or against other animals.

Moreover, the sort of behavior exhibited in this incident is not only morally and ethically barbaric, but also illegal according to Article 260 of Penal Law, which prohibits the torturing of animals or exposing them to suffering out of sadism, as well as according to Article 30 of Law on Public Order, which concerns the abuse of animals in public places. Additional information on raising charges in cases of violating these laws can be obtained at www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr. We have included your students in our online cruelty list.

With respect to all this, we expect your prompt reaction and pedagogical action in order to punish the students who tortured the kitten. We also expect that you dedicate more attention to educating your students on the issues related to the torturing of animals.

We remain at your disposal for all further questions and will gladly send you info-materials on ethically acceptable forms of behaviour towards animals, which you can distribute to your students.

Best regards,

Luka Oman
President of Animal Friends

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