Prue Leith has shared a disturbing story from her youth. “The Great British Bake Off” judge wrote about a time she drowned a litter of kittens in her new memoir “I’ll try anything once.”
According to an excerpt published in HuffPost UK and London Broadcasting Co., Leith was He was 11 years old when his mother ordered him to kill the kittens a few hours old.
“My mother and I, then 11 years old, had just drowned some kittens… and for weeks I imagined those poor dead creatures,” wrote the South African restaurateur.
“It is common for there to be too many kittens and a day had come when my mother, unable to find a home for another litter, decided to drown the last batch.”
Leith wrote in his book that he tried to convince his mother, but finally the protests were met with a firm ‘love, it must be done. They only have a few hours. They’ll barely know it’s happening’”.
In a haunting description, Leith noted that the little animals “fought like the devil for life.”
“I held the bag underwater until the last kitten stopped meowing,” she wrote.
Leith told HuffPost why she decided to include this story in her new memoir.
“This happened in the early 1940s when I was 11 years old and raised on a farm in South Africa,” he wrote in an emailed statement. “I wrote about it honestly in my book, when I was 11 years old it was an extremely traumatic experience, which I would not forget, but it is what happened 70 years ago.”
He also advocated the castration and sterilization of pets.
“Thankfully today in the UK we have the option to neuter our cats and we have more options for kittens at home, although unfortunately in some parts of the world it’s still a problem.”
Humane Society International stresses the importance of spay and neuter initiatives for stray animals, noting that those that are not “are often euthanized, neglected or die of disease.”
“When delivered effectively and combined with vaccinations, spay/neuter provides a humane and effective way to reduce the number of animals living on the streets and improve the health of those that remain,” the society says in its web site “The sterilization of community dogs and the return to their territories on the streets allows for a natural reduction of their population over time and leaves more socialized dogs on the streets.”
The organization also noted that neutered animals are viewed “more favorably” by the general public.