Kiwis divided by school children playing dress-up with dead possums
Some schools bake cakes to raise money. Others hold jumble sales. The Uruti School in New Zealand's North Island staged a best-dressed dead possum competition, encouraging pupils to deck out the furry corpses in costumes such as wedding dresses and bikinis.
Animal welfare groups were horrified, but the school principal, Pauline Sutton, brushed off the criticism. "There was an amazing crowd and it was lots of fun," she told the Taranaki Daily News. The fundraiser, which also featured a wild pig hunt, raised NZ$8,000 (£4,100), she added.
A protected species in their native Australia, brush-tailed possums are considered a pest in New Zealand, where they destroy vegetation and prey on native birds including the kiwi. Killing them is a national sport; one television advert a few years ago showed children delightedly counting dead possums while driving along a country road.
For the school competition, one skinned possum was dressed as a boxer, while others were fitted out in baby clothes. The dead creatures were then arranged in amusing poses: riding a tricycle, painting at an easel, relaxing on a mini-beach towel. Ms Sutton wondered what all the fuss was about. After all, she pointed out, "animals aren't the only species who are dressed up after they die. We do it to humans too."
But the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals condemned the event as tasteless and unacceptable. "Animals deserve respect, whether they're wild, domestic or pets," said a spokeswoman, Jackie Poles-Smith. "We encourage empathy [for] all animals, even when they're dead, and it's a shame that a school is encouraging its children to do this."
- 1 Stem cells that can kill cancer have been engineered by scientists
- 2 Ricky Gervais and Dame Judi Dench back campaign to stop Thailand dog meat trade
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 5 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News
Stem cells that can kill cancer have been engineered by scientists
Ottawa shooting: 'Sergeant-at-arms shot suspect at point-blank range after diving around pillar'
Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
Jack Bruce dead: Cream bass player dies of liver disease aged 71
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...