Prue Leith has admitted to drowning a bag of kittens as a child at the instruction of her mother.
The Great British Bake Off judge, 82, reflected on her actions in her memoir I’ll Try Anything Once.
Leith said her mother had told her, then 11 years old, to kill the baby animals hours after their birth.
“My mother and I, then 11, had just drowned some kittens… and for weeks I imagined those poor dead creatures,” she wrote.
“Too many kittens was a frequent occurrence and there had come a day when my mother, unable to find homes for yet another litter, decided to drown the latest batch.”
Leith recalled that she tried to persuade her mother against it, but “my protests were met with a firm, ‘Darling, it has to be done. They are only a few hours old. They will hardly know it’s happening’”.
Despite her mother’s assurances, however, the TV personality said that the kittens “fought like the devil for life”.
“I held the bag under the water until the last kitten had stopped mewing,” she said.
Last month, Leith recalled how she once accidentally gave 30 people food poisoning after serving them a spoiled chicken and mayonnaise dish.