Unfortunately, this does not seem to be an isolated incident at all. Similar incidents seem to crop up with some regularity, if not necessarily with a very high frequency.
In 2004, a couple of teens (16 and 17) went on a "hunting trip" where they cruelly killed a pregnant pet deer. Apparently they used an axe and a machete to hack off the head and the legs, then ate the carcass. At least they bothered to cook it first. This one happened in Dartmoor. They received a 10 month referral and had to pay £250.
Then, in 2007, a single 17-year-old celebrated his birthday by throwing a live fawn onto the fire "for a laugh", after removing it from it's mother. The poor animal was so badly burnt that it had to be killed to "put it out of its misery". This one, near Loch Ness (yes that one), narrowly missed being imprisoned. He was given 200 hours community service and banned from keeping animals for 10 years.
I could probably go on about whether the sentences above weren't nearly stiff enough (they weren't and I'm sure the most recent one won't be, either) until the cows come home, but that's not why I felt the need to write about this at all. What puzzles me, or better said, worries me much more is where does this kind of cruelty come from at all?
I mean, all young animals, or at least a great majority of young mammals are universally considered as officially cute. If you really want to press this point, then a vast majority of people finds small furry creatures cute. I am sure that, under some different circumstances, all the teens above would have agreed. I wouldn't be surprised if most, if not all of them had a favourite teddy bear (here's mine, with a good friend of his), even at the time they committed those horrible acts of cruelty.
So what on earth makes these kids be so cruel?
I don't think I have any really good answers to this, really. At the ages as above, they should have a very good sense of right and wrong already. I also don't think that girls particularly value such bravado when deciding if the boy is worth their while (or at least I hope they don't!). The most likely scenario I could think of is one-upmanship and/or daring gone wrong.
Notable exception are the two idiots playing "hunters" could be seen as taking their stone age "hunting trip" that little bit too far. I can, sort of, understand that. I also think that their sentence reflects that, too. Still, at their age, they should really be expected to have slightly more realistic view of hunting, and also a much better view of what is cruel and what's not. Yes, we used to hunt in a similar way hundreds or thousands of years ago. But we did it because we had to, and did not have better ways of gaining access to meat for our diet (and no, man, as in Homo sapiens sapiens, was never a vegetarian; our species does need meat for a healthy diet).
Also, some friends apparently tried to stop the idiotic birthday boy, and one of them killed the poor animal out of mercy. I guess he was probably drunk, too, and wanted to show off. His friends' protestations probably egged him on even more. Such is the psychology of a cretin. What I think should have happened in this one was that his friends (a good few of them were present, apparently) should also be punished for not bothering to better protect the poor animal. Not stopping a single person from committing a cruelty is almost as bad as committing it yourself, if you had the capacity to do it. And they did. Never believe they didn't.
But what about the three truly evil little monsters who practised karate, and who knows what else on a poor little thing, going so far even as to hold it up for one another to beat? This truly defies belief. I so hope they are made to spend some time in prison. Where on earth they got the idea that such a thing is fun? I don't think even the most violent and gory video games, films, or stories depict baby animals being treated as punch-bags. You can't see it on TV, you can't hear about it in schools. Even religions do not slaughter and quarter animals as sacrifices any more.
So, why? Why? WHY?
Answers on a postcard, or better yet, in the comments below...