Why do we work so hard to end a child's innate compassion? Kids aren't born wanting to eat animals, wear fur, watch donkey basketball games, and see dolphins do stupid tricks. We teach them that those things are okay, necessary even. It's a cycle that can only be stopped by those of us who know better and take action.
My kid recently finished 100 days of kindergarten and while his school is great and filled with support from lovely families, I've noticed some things that I imagine are standard operating procedure for schools everywhere, but actually kind of suck. There aren't any vegan lunch options, the cafeteria is plastered with "Got Milk?" posters (Note to self: Email a soy milk company and ask about posters) and I recently found out that the first grade classes had animals schlepped over from the local zoo. On two separate days, at $150 a pop, a petting zoo came to my son's elementary school.
The Oakland Mobile Zoo (it's a petting zoo, people, call it what it is) will bring a chinchilla, a hedgehog, a snake and a bearded dragon to your child's classroom so the children can "learn about the animals." What do they learn? How to terrify a bearded dragon? How a hedgehog doesn't behave in the wild? To respect and appreciate wild animals?