Yep, been guilty of it. Not in a severe way and I would never countenance any cruelty to animals, but I was a kid. I will go to my grave with some regrets.
A day or so ago we set off for a walk to Albert Park Lake. Always a nice thing to do surely. In case I got hungry along the way, I took a crust of bread with me. Not to feed to the swans, ducks, or comorants, let me assure you. Feeding wild animals and birds with human food is way wrong.
But once we there and I did not get hungry I felt not inclined to carry the crust home. For some reason the birds in the lake seemed to swim up to us and what I could I do? They were hungry and I had a bit of food.
It was wrong, I know. But I tore the crust into tiny pieces and fed them. First the juvenile swans, then the ducks came and the comorants. Some mature looking swans rocked up too, they got a crumb or two as well. Then this puffed up swan arrived. He looked like a boss. Feathers were errect, but he never bothered with any of the other birds so I wondered why he arrived with such attitude.
A new young swan arrived, so I selectively threw him a crumb. The nearby puffed up boss was not so fast and the younger got the crumb. Big mistake. The puffed up swan put his beak at about the base of the young swan's neck and tried to push him/her under the water. Ten seconds of that would have been enough, I would have thought, to assert his/her authority, but no, it went on for five minutes at least. R was not so interested to watch it, so we moved on toward the boat houses. I kept watching as they swam away, the boss still with his/her beak at he base of the younger's neck and trying to push it under. They swam along the edge, we walked to the boat house, they moved to the middle of lake, still, bosses beak was around the base of the the juniors neck and trying to push him/her under.
The time is only a guess, but I would say it was at least fifteen minutes of boss swan trying to push the younger swan's head under the water.
I suppose it was a performance and a leader of the pack thing, nature is cruel, but I don't think I will take anything to eat along the way next time we go to the lake.