(KIDS AND ANIMALS) While most kids learn science and math in school, the kids in New Zealand’s Uruti School are learning how to dress up dead possums in bikinis. The school is in hot water after holding a very bizarre fundraiser which consisted of a fashion show featuring dead possums dressed up by children. While possums are protected in Australia, they are unfortunately considered a pest in New Zealand. Read on to find out the school principal’s explanation for why she let this happen. — Global Animal
A school in New Zealand has come under fire from animal lovers after staging a morbid fashion show in which children were encouraged to dress possum corpses in colourful costumes.
The contest, part of an annual fund-raiser for the Uruti School in the North Island, was unacceptable and thoughtless, the New Zealand Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) said.
Children at the school fitted dead possums in a variety of costumes including wedding dresses and bikinis, then arranged them in comedy poses, such as riding a tricycle and painting at an easel.
“It’s not something that can be justified, animals deserve respect whether they’re wild, domestic or pets,” RSPCA spokesman Jackie Poles-Smith said.
“We encourage empathy to all animals, even when they’re dead, and it’s a shame that a school is encouraging its children to do this.”
The local Taranaki Daily News ran an online gallery of the dead marsupials under the headline “pimped-up possums” reporting an overwhelmingly negative reaction in its comments section, including “sick”, “disgusting” and “psycho”.
Uruti School principal Pauline Sutton said she saw nothing wrong with the children dressing up the dead possums, which are regarded as pests in New Zealand.
“Animals aren’t the only species who are dressed up after they die, we do it to humans too,” she told the newspaper.
She said the fund-raiser, the centrepiece of which was a pig hunt, had generated more cash than expected.
Possums are protected in their native Australia but a pest in New Zealand, where the population has exploded to about 70 million since they were introduced in the 19th century in an attempt to start a fur trade.
Another North Island school was criticised in 2010 for holding a possum-throwing contest, in which students swung possum carcasses around their heads and hurled them across the playground.