Cats Protection’s Director of Veterinary Services Maggie Roberts said:
“Cats Protection was surprised and disappointed to see Kurt Zouma play last night.
We’re saddened the club did not take the opportunity to send a clear message that cruelty to animals will not be tolerated.
The decision by Kurt Zouma’s club to continue as though nothing has happened sends an appalling message to fans and the wider public. It seems that on this occasion, a decision has been taken to put football before the wellbeing of a sentient being.
Footballers are in the privileged position of being role models to a huge number of people across the world. This makes the behaviour in the video – and the subsequent decision by the club – all the more distressing.
This is not a minor offence. Cruelty to animals is a serious criminal offence because it is no longer considered acceptable in today’s society. There is also research which shows people who practice cruelty towards animals are more likely to progress to becoming more aggressive towards humans.
Anyone who loves and supports football – whether its fans or sponsors – will expect the very highest standards of players and management. It is for sponsors to decide if they can tolerate the actions seen on the video and the decision taken by the club last night.”