Rachel Johnson said Kurt Zouma’s animal cruelty was ‘one silly mistake’. I disagree.

NEWS AND COMMENT: The Independent newspaper reports that the LBC radio presenter and Boris Johnson’s sister, Rachel Johnson, has said on her show that the Kurt Zouma cat-kicking and cat-slapping incident was “one silly mistake”. She said that we have to move on and put it behind us. This is what she said as reported by the Independent:

“I do think we are in danger of overreacting and cancelling Kurt Zouma for one misguided kick in his kitchen which his silly brother posted on social media. He’s 27, clearly, he’s old enough to know better! But do we really want to live in a world where one silly mistake can lead to the end of somebody’s career? I think we don’t. I think he has taken his punishment; his cats are now no longer in the house.”

Rachel Johnson and her cockapoo Ziggy and one of her puppies

Rachel Johnson and her cockapoo Ziggy and one of her puppies. Photo: MARK HARRISON/DAILY MAIL/DMG MEDIA LICENSING.

Surprisingly, she even said that it was a “misguided kick in his kitchen”. The kick was not misguided. It was a deliberate, malicious kick. He was punishing his cat. In fact, it was a drop-kick because he carried his Bengal cat and then dropped him/her onto the floor and then kicked the cat. It happened in the living room not the kitchen. He slapped the same cat in the kitchen while he was being held by a boy. He slapped the cat so hard the cat jumped out of the hands of the boy. This abuse, on its own, is actionable because the boy is a victim too.

And this cannot be ‘one silly mistake’. It’s impossible for it to be one silly mistake as it is the manifestation of a disregard for animal welfare. It’s a state of mind which is a permanent state of affairs until it is removed from the man’s thought processes. And it is very hard to alter this kind of attitude towards animal welfare. And as it is a permanent state of mind, it is liable to happen again and almost certainly happened in the past perhaps in different forms.

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Also, and this is perhaps more important than anything else, Kurt Zouma is a role model as are all premiership footballers. Children look up to these footballers. They are often avid fans. Perhaps they don’t have fathers who are good role models so they need top footballers to help guide them on appropriate human behaviour. And here we have a premiership footballer who is paid £125,000 a week telling kids that it is okay to slap and kick a companion animal. I wonder how many kids have taken that on board?

And clearly, the football fans think it’s amusing. Although they booed Kurt Zouma in the first match after the incident against Watford, they chanted amusingly about the animal abuse when they were in a pub before the next match against Leicester. They’ve used animal cruelty to amuse themselves. Hardly a good attitude.

West Ham fans chant about Zouma's cat-kicking incident and throw around an inflatable cat

West Ham fans chant about Zouma’s cat-kicking incident and throw around an inflatable cat. Screenshot montage.

It does indicate a pretty bad state of affairs concerning animal welfare in the UK. Rachel Johnson should know better. But I should not be surprised. She is the person who thinks it’s okay to breed her cockapoo dog, Ziggy, when there are shelter dogs in the UK who need homes. You don’t breed a purebred dog for your amusement. I’m surprised that the breeder from whom she bought the dog allowed it to happen. She said, at the time, that her children showed no signs of producing grandchildren so as she wanted grandchildren, she let her dog procreate. It’s just appalling.

It indicates her state of mind. Put these two events together and you can tell that she is not an animal welfare advocate. Being the sister of Boris Johnson, this doesn’t surprise me. He has gathered a reputation as being disreputable and lacking integrity and I think we can say the same about his sister.

The Blue Cross charity is calling for Zouma to be genuinely punished. He’s been fined £250,000 by West Ham, his club, but although it’s a lot of money to most people, for him it is two weeks wages and therefore he can get over it quickly. His two cats should be taken from permanently which may well happen but is not certain. The important thing is that he should be prosecuted by the RSPCA in conjunction with the police.

West Ham indicated that his fine was going to be donated to the RSPCA but the RSPCA have no record of any discussion of that nature happening. And they also indicated that he was going to be educated by the RSPCA on animal welfare. That hasn’t happened either and there is no indication that it will happen. West Ham want to move on as fast as possible as Rachel Johnson suggests. Fine but do the right thing in the meantime.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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