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Call for veterinary investigation into anaesthetization of Love/Hate cat
10 October 2013

ICABS has called on the Veterinary Council of Ireland to investigate the anaesthetising of a cat during the filming of a Love/Hate episode broadcast this week.

According to a report in the Irish Independent, "the cat was anaesthetised by a vet to ensure it 'played dead'."

In a letter to the Veterinary Council of Ireland, ICABS pointed to the body's Code of Professional Conduct which states that "veterinary practitioners must consider the welfare implications of any procedure involving animals...benefit to the animal should transcend personal advantage or monetary gain in decisions concerning therapy."

"There was absolutely no benefit to the cat in question in relation to anaesthetization and therefore, it should not have been performed," we stated. "Given the risks of complications and death associated with anaesthetising cats, this act appears to contravene the Code of Conduct."

The Veterinary Council has been asked if it shares concerns that the trivialisation of cruelty on-screen could act as a catalyst for more real-life violence against animals and if it is appropriate for vets to be involved in project which present cruelty as a laughing matter.


Ask the Veterinary Council of Ireland to investigate the anaesthetization of the Love/Hate cat and take appropriate action.

Veterinary Council of Ireland
53 Lansdowne Road
Dublin 4

Vets speak out against cat "killing" scene

Vet says it was "unethical for [Love/Hate cat] to have been anaesthetised"

Love/Hate cat shooting (Letter to Editor)
Irish Times, October 10th, 2013

Sir, The shooting of the cat on Love/Hate is perhaps an accurate portrayal of an amoral youth, born with the same potential as us all but due to his broken upbringing on the fringes of society has already become a vicious thug, a murder-in-waiting (Breaking News, October 7th).

There are numerous studies that demonstrate a very strong correlation between animal cruelty in early life and criminality/ familial abuse (to spouses, children) in later life. Our shock should be at society’s production of such a youth, not at this production’s portrayal of that youth, and our resolve as a society should be to identify and repair these youngsters before it is too late.

A separate but related point was that apparently this cat was anaesthetised to aid the filming of the scene. While modern veterinary anaesthesia in a clinic setting is incredibly safe, it does carry a risk. For a procedure to be ethical such a risk to the animal needs to be outweighed by the risk of doing nothing and/or the benefit of what needs to be done under anaesthetic. As there was clearly no benefit to the animal deriving from this anaesthetic – it being done merely to aid in the filming process – it would appear unethical for it to have been anaesthetised just for the sake of aiding filming.

I would hope that such practice will be discontinued and that in future any veterinary surgeon will refuse to administer an anaesthetic under such circumstances. – Yours, etc,

Blacklion Pet Hospital,
Kindlestown Road,
Greystones, Co Wicklow.

TV Vet Pete Wedderburn criticises cat killing scene

From "Leading TV vet calls Love/Hate cat shooting ‘extremely disturbing and upsetting’"
Irish Independent, 08 October 2013

Leading vet and journalist Pete Wedderburn has criticised the depiction of the shooting.

“I found it extremely disturbing and upsetting,” he told Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE Radio this morning.

“I have read comments online and a lot of people are asking ‘what’s the big deal about a cat?’.

“My point is that this is something that happens often.

“People know that you’re not meant to shoot and torture humans and people don’t generally do that, but I’m afraid the truth is that people do often shoot and torture cats. It’s something I see regularly in the vet’s surgery.”

The vet said he’s afraid that the scene will further encourage people to think ‘it’s okay’ to harm animals.

“We all have a threshold we don’t cross as humans and we know we don’t injure and kill other humans. It’s like a real taboo in our society, it just doesn’t happen,” he said.

“But a lot of people don’t have that taboo as far as animals are concerned. When you display something that a lot of people already see as okay in the mass media, it will definitely encourage other young hoodlums to do the same.”

In response to RTÉ’S statement that the cat was not harmed during the filming, Wedderburn said; “I’m not talking about the cat itself being harmed at all. That’s not the issue here.

“The issue is the casual display of something that young people are unfortunately already doing.

“What I’m saying is that I felt disturbed and I know that other people animal-caring people also felt disturbed watching the scene.”

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