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WELLINGTON: A New Zealand school that staged a morbid fashion show in which children were encouraged to dress possum corpses in colourful costumes has come under fire from animal lovers.
The contest, part of an annual fund-raiser for the Uruti School in the North Island, was unacceptable and thoughtless, the New Zealand Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) said.
Children at the school fitted dead possums in a variety of costumes, including wedding dresses and bikinis, then arranged them in comedy poses, such as riding a tricycle and painting at an easel.
“It’s not something that can be justified; animals deserve respect, whether they’re wild, domestic or pets,” RSPCA spokeswoman Jackie Poles-Smith said yesterday.
“We encourage empathy to all animals, even when they’re dead.”
The local Taranaki Daily News ran an online gallery of the dead marsupials under the headline “pimped-up possums”, reporting an overwhelmingly negative reaction in its comments section, including “sick” and “psycho”.
Uruti School principal Pauline Sutton said she saw nothing wrong with the children dressing up the dead possums, which are regarded as pests in New Zealand. – Sapa-AFP