An American professor of ecology has slammed New Zealand education authorities for teaching youngsters to hate wild animals and thereby practise cruelty to them. Marc Bekoff at the University of Colorado recently wrote a number of essays about New Zealand youngsters being encouraged to harm and to kill animals as part of their education.
" It's all part of the country's war on wildlife, the goal being to get rid of all predators by 2050,” he said.
Dr Bekoff’s comments were supported by Laurie Collins of the Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust in New Zealand. He said the teachings in school were commonplace by the Department of Conservation and Forest and Bird Society.
It is appalling really. The youngsters were taught factually incorrect stuff to back up programmes like Predator Free NZ.
“For example youngsters are told possums are predators but they’re not. They are vegetarians, i.e. herbivores."
Recently young possum joeys were taken from their mother's pouch and drowned in a bucket of water during an annual fundraising hunt for a South Auckland school. Hundreds of adult possums were killed during the event raising money for Drury School with a witness telling the newspaper at least one teenaged girl - not a student of the school - was allegedly involved in the drowning of the baby possums.
Information filtering through from New Zealand, motivated Professor Bekoff to publicly take issue with the teaching of cruelty. The first was an email he received from a woman who thanked him for opposing the taught violence to animals. The woman was appalled and mentioned other parents agreed with her and were at wit's end because people in power were telling the kids it was perfectly okay to harm and to kill the animals and to parade around with corpses of the animals they slaughtered.
Another motivator was an essay by Christina Persico that contained some incredibly disturbing images of kids abusing animals. There were also a number of entries for the dead possum dress-up including a butcher, a cowboy and a Donald Trump, complete with the shock of blond hair. One student summarised what happened as, "It's a good day out and we have lots of fun."
Professor Bekoff also did an interview with New Zealand's 'Safe and Sound" radio about how wrong it is to teach children to harm and to kill other animals.
" I'm incredulous that something like this actually occurs” he said. "Just say ‘no' to violence toward animals. It's wrong and there is no way to justify this sort of brutality. It feels downright abusive for people in positions of authority to have youngsters sanction violence toward animals as part of school programmes,“ he said. “I was incredulous when I heard and saw what was happening in New Zealand and how killing contests are chalked up as fun and how they become family affairs. I find it very disconcerting when one considers a phenomenon called "the link," which highlights the relationship between violence toward animals and violence toward humans."
Professor Bekoff said he hoped, everyone in New Zealand who opposed killing contests that include youngsters and adults would speak out against such unnecessary violence.
" I imagine, and can only hope, that the teachers and school administrators who encourage kids to harm and to kill other animals, and that youngsters who say they enjoy it, are in the vast minority (in New Zealand)”, he said.