Uruti School, in New Zealand has made the international news after holding a Pig Hunt Fundraiser which had a ‘Best Dressed Possum’ competition.
Photographs of the dead critters in ball gowns, boxing attire and all sorts of other silly costumes were published in the Taranaki Daily News sparking a furious debate.
The online story received more than 100 comments, with the majority of those leaving messages stating that they thought it was a disgusting competition and left a bad impression of the school.
One such comment read: “Teaching kids that killing then dressing up the dead bodies of animals as a form of entertainment is one of the sickest things I’ve seen.”
In an online poll about the competition, 57% of voters said they thought it was inhumane, while 43% said that they thought it was harmless.
The SPCA also spoke out about the somewhat eerie competition, stating that they were disappointed in the school’s decision to host it. Spokeswoman Jackie Poles-Smith said: “The SPCA’s focus is on teaching children respect and empathy for animals and they didn’t do that…Animals deserve respect even after death.”
However the school has been outspoken in their defense of the competition, Principal Pauline Sutton described it as “fantastic” and claimed that the school had only received positive feedback regarding it.
She said that there was a massive crowd at the event and the school ended up raising $8,000 which was more than double the amount that they had initially hoped to raise!
Sutton tried to negate Poles-Smith’s statement that the competition encouraged children to behave disrespectfully towards animals, she claimed that the school was very active in conservation and worked closely with the DOC and the Kiwi Trust.
Personally I think it is a little bit WTF, if I had children I certainly would be yanking them straight out of any school that encouraged them to play dress up with the dead bodies of animals. Ok, so the animals may have already been dead, so it’s not like they are inflicting any cruelty on them, but it is still slightly sadistic and desecrating a dead creature is not something I think children should be instructed to do. There is something decidedly sinister about the bold grin on the little girl as she cradles a dead possum in a bridal gown. It’s like something out of Tim Burton movie, not a school fundraiser!
Maybe it’s different in NZ, but everyone I spoke to about this competition was absolutely mortified by it and some actually took a lot of convincing to believe that it was actually for real!