Crass fowl

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - FRONT PAGE -

ZA­GREB, Croa­tia (AFP) — See­ing a field in­vaded by an­i­mals is a usual sight if you’re strolling through the coun­try­side, but it’s a dif­fer­ent story when you see an­i­mals in­vade a game on the soc­cer field as it is not some­thing you see ev­ery day.

Al­most every­one loves soc­cer, and in places where the sport is more prom­i­nent than in the rest, it is al­ways a sight to be­hold when some­one or some­thing in­vades the pitch while in play.

In Eng­land, streak­ers — naked men or women — in­vad­ing sports fields have been pop­u­lar for a long time now and happy fans cel­e­brat­ing a goal or the cham­pi­onship of their beloved teams are a lot more pop­u­lar than see­ing an an­i­mal ap­pear on the field to cel­e­brate.

Hav­ing an­i­mals in­ter­rupt the game is not a com­mon af­fair, but that doesn’t mean it never hap­pens, as it ac­tu­ally oc­curred mul­ti­ple times with a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent an­i­mals from dogs to roost­ers.

But while some of these oc­cur­rences are pretty funny and en­joy­able to watch, not all of them have a happy end­ing.

Take the case of a lo­cal soc­cer player in Za­greb, Croa­tia who may face charges from a Croa­t­ian an­i­mal rights group fol­low­ing an un­to­ward in­ci­dent dur­ing a semi-pro­fes­sional match.

The in­ci­dent took place dur­ing a match be­tween a vis­it­ing team and home team NK Je­len­grad, where the play was stopped af­ter a brood of chick­ens ran onto the pitch while the game was be­ing played.

One of the play­ers, Ivan Gazdek from the home team, vented his frus­tra­tion over the “fowl in­va­sion” on one of the chick­ens af­ter he ran af­ter the birds and kicked one with his foot. As if it was not enough, the player then chucked it over the fence in a flurry of feath­ers.

For his ac­tion, the 23-year-old player was given a red card for un­sports­man­like be­hav­ior.

The NGO An­i­mal Friends in Croa­tia, on the other hand, also strongly con­demned the “shame­ful act and cow­ardly be­hav­ior of the player against an in­no­cent an­i­mal who died with crushed bones and in pain.”

The group said it would file charges against the player for the “crim­i­nal act of an­i­mal killing or tor­ture,” and if for­mally charged and found guilty, Gazdek could face up to a year in pri­son.

Gazdek, who claims to be an an­i­mal lover who owns sev­eral pets, ar­gued to lo­cal me­dia that the killing “was not in­ten­tional.”

“I ran to­wards the chick­ens to chase them away, swung my foot and ac­ci­den­tally killed one,” said Gazdek. “Chick­ens are con­stantly en­ter­ing the pitch in­ter­rupt­ing the match. The pitch is full of fe­ces. These are un­hy­gienic con­di­tions.”

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