Whether 5 or 15, children should be taught to respect others and to have compassion for the sick, poor, and helpless. They should be taught right from wrong and the golden rule. But some communities seem to believe teaching children to kill animals for money and other prizes is perfectly acceptable. Given that many of our mass murderers once killed animals when they were children, do we really want to teach our children that a wild animal deserves to die just so they can win a prize?
Humane educators cringe each time they see a newspaper headline, “Squirrel killing contest open to 10-year-olds” or “Children awarded prizes for killing feral pigs.” So much for raising compassionate, caring, humane children. What children learn from “lessons” like these is you can win big bucks for killing nature’s creatures.
Some will argue that these contests are no different from what hunters do. No, they are very different. Hunters often kill animals to feed and clothe their families. Those who do hunt in order to live do not turn killing into a contest. In fact, many hunters abhor killing contests because they destroy compassion for the natural world, especially in our children. When you think about…killing contests send the wrong message to children.