Teaching Kids Animal Cruelty For Christmas

by MyDadBlog on September 27, 2011

in Criticism,Pets

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This summer, we finally gave in and let our son get a hermit crab at the shore while on vacation.  Each year, we found some excuse to disallow based on his age, his behavior or otherwise.  This year, he’s grown more mature and responsible and was a great kid during vacation, so we said fine.  It’s turned out well so far – he plays with them every day, feeds them, cleans them and he’s very compassionate toward his little buddies.  During casual conversation with some parents of kids in his class, we became aware of a rather bizarre and cruel practice IMO.

Apparently, all kinds of parents do the hermit crab thing each summer, and they do it EACH summer because come spring, there’s no more hermit crab in the house.  Where do the little critters go?  Well, these parents (and this is more than 1 family, and not in a coordinated fashion, so I don’t know where this bizarre ritual came from) wait until Christmas each year and go and put the crab out in the snow to freeze to death.  Aside from the fact that this is cruel and unnecessary, what kind of message is this sending to children?  It’s OK to torture a small critter to death?  So, it’s also OK to stomp a cat or light a dog on fire?  As kids grow up and engage in more reckless behavior, if they don’t have the right baseline on how to treat other people and animals, later in life, the swings in how they behave toward others grow wider and wider.  While I did a lot of stupid, risky stuff as a teenager, I never exhibited any form of animal cruelty, I wasn’t raised that way.

Even though they’re “just hermit crabs”, there were a pet.  It’s not like killing a spider; these were purchased domesticated pets that children cared for and played with and then were killed for no apparent reason – then purchased again to repeat the cycle.

Can anyone enlighten me on whether this Christmas ritual is an American tradition and where it came from?

And do you think this is acceptable?

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