Animal Cruelty RibbonI am the first to admit it, I’m a bit of a bunny loving tree hugger, I abhor cruelty of any kind to both human and animal and am always profoundly affected by such stories and even though it may seem flaky, I will do what I can to stand by my convictions and to make some difference, no matter how small.

I was that child who would pick up injured birds on the side of the road and take them to my art teacher at school, Ms Bartie, for rehabilitation.

I don’t support circuses or animals in captivity, I only use cruelty free products, I recycle etc etc and my convictions are smiled upon and indulged by my long suffering husband and of course by default my children.

With that in mind, imagine my conflict when I found out yesterday that a local zoo would be visiting Ava’s school and bringing some animals with them, potentially even a lion cub. And not just any zoo, but a zoo in the area that has been featured a number of times on shows like Carte Blanche and who have been repeatedly reported for cruelty because of the Victorian style cages the animals are kept in, in unsanitary conditions.

I felt so torn over whether or not to allow Ava to attend school today. I really wanted to keep her at home because of my convictions, because I can’t condone this, because I am uncomfortable that I will be contributing to the continued imprisonment of animals under such conditions. And what was I teaching Ava? We’ve always taught her to be kind and compassionate to animals, that circuses are cruel and animals deserve the respect and right to a comfortable life.

After wringing my hands in angst, I eventually emailed the school back with my concerns and I was very impressed with the way they handled my concerns, calling the SPCA in the area and requesting information about claims about the zoo in question and then emailing me back with what the SPCA had informed them and that the headmistress would ensure that all the children understood and were reminded during the show of how we treat animals etc.

Of course, Walter just shook his head and rolled his eyes and a couple of other friends I asked sort of giggled and patted me on the head while reminding me that the reason they loved me was because of the strength of my convictions. The thing that I don’t understand is how people are not outraged by such things. Or why its ok to assume that if you don’t know about it it doesn’t matter?

In the end, I gave in to the pressure and have let Ava go but I am not comfortable with it and tonight I will sit her down and have a chat with her about animals and how they should be cared for, respected and treated. It was a really tough decision for me, on the one hand, I know Ava will love today because she’s crazy about animals, but on the other hand, I want her to grow up knowing, understanding and respecting the way we should treat animals and to have strength for her own convictions.

What would you have done?

Oh and as a side note…. trust me… don’t ever search Google images for “stop animal cruelty”… just trust me on that ok?