Monday, October 25, 2004

Petting zoos are pure madness

We spent yesterday getting pumpkins and all our harvest and Halloween needs at a little farm north of the city. Like most farms, they had a petting zoo of sorts, a large barn with a few chickens, pigs, and goats. You can imagine my delight (she says sarcastically) to see all the unleashed children running after the animals. I just don't get parents and their disregard for how their children react to animals. It really ties in to that concept that animal are just "things" placed here by God for our use and amusement.

I know farm people who eat meat and explain to their kids, in a non-saccharine way, what occurs and why (according to them) with their animals. They still demand that the kids treat the animals kindly - no running after them, no rough play, no loud noises. They seem to have more respect for the animal's current space and livelihood than what I witnessed yesterday with the SUV-driving Toronto parents. So why don't these "PC city folks" get it?

While I like the idea of exposing children to nature, I am always hesitant when it comes to petting zoos and barnyard displays, where domestic "livestock" are effectively treated like they are pets. They are not. Most of them end up on plates, after all. The message given is confusing and inappropriate. Isn't it more valuable to take kids on nature walks - where wildlife is viewed from afar? Or perhaps to an educational IMAX film? Or maybe (GASP!) to the library?

Don't even get me started on the petting zoos at parks and carnivals. All the noise and chaos drives me mad, let alone the terrified animals! These farms are a good example of how disconnected we are from food and how food reaches our plate. It was all very dismal and I am reminded of why I stopped eating meat.

Finally, after watching a gaggle of dumbass adults and tweens run after (and repeatedly try to corral) an AWOL rabbit, I had seen enough. Next year I will be sure to get apple butter at the grocery.


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