RTÉ HAS CONFIRMED it’s received 41 complaints over a scene at the start of Sunday night’s season premiere of Love/Hate which depicted a cat being machine-gunned to death.
Animal rights groups have criticised the broadcaster for airing the graphic sequence, in which a teenager is seen shooting the animal with a machine gun, and then laughing about the incident with a friend.
In line with normal practice, the programme makers confirmed in the end credits that no animals were harmed in the making of the show. However, groups like the ISPCA and the Animal Rights Action Network aren’t happy that the content was aired in the first place.
ARAN called yesterday for a boycott of the gangland drama, while the ISPCA claims the scene “sparked outrage” amongst animal lovers.
“The cat shooting scene was totally unnecessary given that Ireland is experiencing increasing levels of animal cruelty, neglect and abuse inflicted on innocent animals,” a spokesperson for the charity said.
“We fear youngsters could be influenced to behave cruelly towards cats as a result of what was shown on Love/Hate especially in the run up to Halloween”.
A spokesperson for RTÉ reiterated today that no animals were hurt. The cat was given an anaesthetic by a qualified vet for the scene so it appeared lifeless on screen
“Under the supervision of an experienced animal handler, Eddie Drew, the cat had a fishing line attached to its collar to lead it in the necessary direction and stop it as it ran,” the RTÉ spokesperson said.
“The line was removed in post production. The impact blood splatter was created through CGI effects in post production.
“No squibs (for fake blood) were attached to the cat or set off in its proximity during filming.
“Subsequently the cat was given an anaesthetic by a qualified vet – the same technique has been used in previous series of Love/Hate.
“The producer was present and confirmed that the cat was in good health after the scene.”
Of the 41 complaints lodged with the broadcaster, 32 were written and 9 were via phonecall.