NOTHING upsets me more than animal cruelty, and I was sickened to learn this week that it is deep rooted in our society.

What's happened to our reputation as animal lovers?

The RSPCA has reported that during past year, it responded to 1.6 million calls for help, witnessed appalling cases of callousness and thankfully, though sadly, saw a nine per cent rise in the number of people prosecuted for harming animals,

A Manchester University research team found that the main reasons for animal cruelty were retaliation, because an animal had harmed a person or they were jealous of it, for fun and to experiment. And most are male. Disgusting.

Unhappily too, many people now have a throwaway attitude to animals and show a callous disregard for their welfare.

Well I'd willingly put anyone who torments a creature through the eye-for-an-eye treatment.

Last year in the north west, 133 people were successfully convicted for animal abuse including a couple from Hindley who allowed three dogs and three rabbits to starve to death outside their home.

Two of the dogs had been feeding on the third and were found in a state of decomposition.

The couple admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the animals, having the gall to blame the children who had been given responsibility to feed the rabbits.

They were sentenced to 120 days in custody, but this was reduced to 120 days community service on appeal. Appalling - they don't deserve freedom.

Thankfully, they were also banned from keeping animals for life - and I hope they are monitored by the society and neighbours, if they have any decency, to make sure that they don't.

Stories like this break my heart.