*Sometimes* Parenting Is Just Not A Lot Of Fun!

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?

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  • Reply Sian

    I also cant stand circuses and I wont take J to one! Honestly I don’t know what I would have done. I think that you handled it very well though and I would like to think that I would have done the same.

    October 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm
  • Reply paddatjiesema

    You mentioned the zoo on twitter, and I wanted to reply but forgot about it.

    I’ve also heard bad things about the zoo, but decided to go and check it out recently. The place is not perfect yet, but they are redoing the cages, and some of the animals have already been moved. They are also doing a lot of BEE training and have people working there now that really cares about the animals. I don’t know if it is new management, but there has been a big change.

    October 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      This is good to know! Thanks for sharing!

      October 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm
  • Reply Laura-kim le Roux

    I think I would have done the same. I would have addressed it with the school – maybe they never knew? Maybe things have since changed etc? But I would have let my child go – school is a mine field of these things and you have to choose your battles. But letting your child know where you stand at all times is a must.

    October 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm
  • Reply Juanita

    I think that you’ve handled it very well. The fact that she did go to school today gives you an opportunity to talk to her about it. My guess would be that it will have a greater impact this way, than to keep her away and try to explain to her why.

    I cannot stand people posting anti-cruelty pictures on FB. It disturbs me immensely to see and the images gets stuck in my brain.

    October 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm
  • Reply Pandora

    So I decided to have this discussion with my daughter too. I said animals should not be in a circus or a zoo. She said circuses should have acrobats and clowns and jugglers but animals should be able to eat and sleep when they want. As for zoos, she feels animals should be in ‘game reverses’. Don’t know how she got so wise. That said, I do know there is a need for animal rehab centres or animal farms where rescued animals can live, especially those that can not fend for themselves in the wild. But the caging of animals just for making money I don’t agree with.
    I will take your word for it and not google animal cruelty. I also then have images imprinted on my brain. Bad enough to know about all the cruelty that happens to people and animals in the world, I don’t need images to cope with too.

    October 17, 2013 at 10:11 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Clever girl!
      Ava was most distressed last night when I asked her about it, all she wanted to know is where the lion cubs mommy and daddy were and why they were taken from their parents.

      October 17, 2013 at 11:18 am
  • Reply Jenny

    ‘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?’ – this sounds like me. I hope I wasn’t patronising about your convictions because I am not at all. I find it awesome that you care so much. If I had heard the Zoo was coming to our school I wouldn’t have even given it a passing thought. I just don’t feel passionately about it. I won’t go to a circus but have been to the zoo. But the fact that you did care and raised this issue made me think and that is what I respect. So if the zoo does come to our school I may well raise the same issues. And I am now thinking of what I am teaching my kids about animals – because we don’t own any, it’s never really been a thing in our house.

    October 17, 2013 at 3:39 pm
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