Old MacDonald had a ... mutilated cow? Many children fall in love with these soulful creatures and other rural animals when they're mere toddlers playing on the rug with their Little People farm friends. Some parents, myself included, choose to give our little ones organic or almond milk because we want to avoid harmful hormones and have heard far too many horror stories about the ways in which cows are treated on many dairy farms. Maybe we've even discussed these realities with our children. But parents at an elementary school in California are outraged this week because members of PETA reportedly took matters into their own hands by distributing "comics" containing illustrations of mutilated cows to children as young as 6.
Students at Calabash Elementary School most assuredly began the day cooing over the cuteness of a baby cow that was brought to their campus as part of a lesson on dairy farming. But parents say many left school horrified after members of PETA handed them a pamphlet "comic" entitled "A Cow's Life" that showed illustrations of cows being electrocuted, dehorned, and infected, as well as factory farms with machetes.
According to reports, the principal of the school hadn't approved PETA's distribution of these graphic materials. A representative from PETA apologized for causing any harm, but insisted that the pamphlet was an educational resource meant for students' parents so they could use it to have an honest discussion with their child about the treatment of cows on farms. The organization offered an olive branch -- in the form of non-dairy ice cream treats for all students at the school.
Um ... thanks?
PETA's statement about their pamphlet is all well and good -- but what made the organization's reps think they could hand out something that looks like a comic to a young child and not expect him or her to have a look at it? When the time is right, I will certainly speak with my child about some of the unethical ways in which animals are treated. Personally, I would never show a very young child graphic images of animals being harmed because I don't feel there is a need to do so. As an adult, I find these images terrifying. I can only imagine how many nightmares they would cause for children.
Parents at the school are considering taking PETA to court over this matter. At first, this sounded a bit extreme to me, but is it any more extreme than handing out this material to little kids?
What do you think? Should parents take legal action over PETA's distribution of this graphic comic?
Image via PETACatalog.com