Westville students kill monkey with sticks

2011-09-16 00:00

THE beating and brutal killing of a monkey at the UKZN’s Westville campus has caused a national outcry.

Students from Oval Residence allegedly beat a monkey that had wandered into the B-block the the residence.

SPCA spokesperson Caroline Smith said a group of four or five male students found the monkey in the communal kitchen.

“The witness statements said the students beat the monkey with sticks until they killed it. We don’t have all the names of the students, but one of them is a final-year environmental science student,” said Smith.

The SPCA will be opening a case against the students today.

Smith vowed that the SPCA will do everything in its power to make sure the students are punished appropriately.

“The Animal Protection Act allows for a sentence of up to three years’ imprisonment or a fine of R60 000 for cruelty against animals,” she said.

UKZN psychology Professor Lance Lachenicht said cruelty exists in all societies and can be deliberately used to show personal power over others or other creatures.

In the case of the students, one might speculate that they have few other sources of personal power, and so once they started beating the animal they so enjoyed the sense of power that they did not want to stop, he said.

“The fact that there was a group of students involved is a factor that would make the cruelty harder to stop. The group will diminish any sense of personal accountability by participants while encouraging personal status in the group through displays of power,” said Lachenicht.

Steve Smit of Monkey Helpline said he condemns the savagery of the students’ act.

He said the body of the monkey has not been found yet and there are rumours the students have eaten it.

“Next Friday we will be holding a protest at the university to make sure the harshest penalties are brought upon these students,” said Smit.

UKZN spokesperson Nomonde Mbadi said the matter is receiving urgent attention and a thorough investigation is under way.

“Perpetrators will be severely dealt with through the university’s official processes,” Mbadi said.

The incident is not the first of animal cruelty at the university. In 2005 the pet cat of a campus security chief’s family was cooked in a microwave oven belonging to students.

athandiwe.saba@media24.com

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