Possum throwing is a small-time sport – why not think big and start throwing whales?

A dwarf can argue the toss - a dead possum can not.

Dunno what sort of respect we should be showing dead possums, especially the ones found creamed on the middle of the highway.

But throwing the buggers – it transpires – is deemed disrespectful in some circles.

Immoral, too.

A report at Stuff says:

The SPCA plans to talk to a rural Manawatu school after receiving complaints about a possum throwing contest.

Last week, the Manawatu Standard ran pictures of the children at Colyton School participating in the contest, in which pupils grabbed possum carcasses by the tail and lobbed them through the air to see how far they could toss them.

Since running the article, the paper has received texts and letters from readers who strongly disagree with the practice, and calling for the school to ban future contests.

According to the report at Stuff, three readers have complained to the SPCA after being horrified that children were being taught to “disrespect dead animals”.

Ashhurst mum Kim Rodgers complained to the SPCA yesterday, asking for the possum pitching contest, and the entire practice, to be banned.

“I think we should have respect, it’s not something we should do, it’s definitely not something we should be teaching children to do,” she said. “I have a 10-year-old son and I’d be horrified if he was doing something like that.

“If it starts out with possums, it’s soon going to be cats when children have no respect for the dead.”

She said she’d laid the complaint because “someone needs to do something to stop this”.

Alf wonders if she bothered contacting the school, to express her concerns.

Palmerston North SPCA centre manager Danny Auger confirmed that he had received three complaints about the school’s possum throwing contest, including one from a vet. He said the school was not breaking any laws, but that did not mean schools should be “encouraging” students to mistreat dead possums.

“We have reasonably strong feelings about stuff like this and that is while it’s technically not illegal, it’s morally wrong to throw a dead animal around. It’s about time that people wake up and smell 2010 and realise that these sorts of things shouldn’t be happening.

“It’s an archaic practice and it should be stopped.”

Auger shared the concern that children were being taught to throw dead animals.

He also questioned the judgment of teachers at the school.

He said he would be visiting Colyton School to ask them to stop holding such events.

Bugger. Alf was hoping to invite himself to the next possum throwing day at the school.

He enjoys the gumboot throwing at Taihape and enjoyed dwarf throwing in Australia, back in the 1980’s, until Mrs Grumble scolded him for enjoying something widely considered to be offensive to the dignity of dwarfs, even though the dwarfs could earn a few bucks from being thrown and – unlike dead possums – could argue the toss with those who said being thrown was disrespectful to them.

Alf will have a hard think about the contention that throwing dead possums might engender bad atttitudes to animals generally in school children and may cancel his plans to head up north with a proposal he was developing before he read about the need to show respect to dead animals.

He was going to set up a whale throwing competiton, inviting people to see how far they could toss the 40 or so pilot whales stranded at Spirits Bay that have died.

A whale of an idea that’s gone up the spout thanks to the SPCA and the do-gooders.

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