The cover of PETA's "Kids Comic" looks innocent enough, but the graphic images that were inside have Southern California parents outraged that it was given to impressionable children.
Students at Calabash Charter Academy in Woodland Hills, Calif., were learning about the dairy process and looking forward to a calf coming to their school last week. As they entered the school building, they were handed "A Cow's Life," which parents thought was part of the presentation for that day, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
This comic by PETA is intended for children, but the pamphlet that was inserted inside with graphics images was not. (Image source: KCBS-TV)
Inside the comic from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which a parent supporter had organized for distribution at the school, was an insert with images of cows with a "sore; an infection; chained and covered with fecal matter" and more, a statement from the school read.
“It’s completely not appropriate for children this age,” mother Debra Belschner told the Los Angeles Daily News. “We were astonished to see what was inside.”
“My 6-year-old daughter was handed one of these comics, saw the insert of the mutilated cow that I ripped away right away, she started flipping through it and saw pictures of baby cows being electrocuted, factory farms with machetes, I mean, just graphically horrifying images for a 6-year-old,” parent Claire Borsheim told KCBS-TV.
PETA maintains that the insert was intended for parents, not the schoolchildren.(Image source: KCBS-TV)
News of the insert quickly spread and parents like Mak Abromson said that the organization should realize children are "off-limits" for such content.
"These kids can’t really process what they see, that’s why we protect them and it’s our job to teach them, not someone else," Abromson told the newspaper. "My daughter keeps asking questions. She keeps saying, ‘The poor cow.’ This sort of thing is really to terrify you, not to teach."
Watch KCBS-TV's report:
The Daily News reported that the Los Angeles Unified School District was notified in advance that PETA protesters could be at the school, but they did not know of the pamphlet ahead of time.
Katie Arth with PETA told the Daily News the comic was created with what the organization felt was age-appropriate content but the more graphic insert should not have been included.
“We regret that happened. It was simply a mistake made by volunteers," explaining that the two pieces shouldn't have been put together.
A letter sent from PETA Vice President Tracy Reiman to the school's principal said the graphic content was meant for parents, not children.
“Kids have a natural empathy for animals and know that the abuse that cows endure on factory farms -- the pain of de-horning, the constant deprivation in filthy feedlots and the ache of mastitis -- is wrong,” Reidman wrote. “PETA’s child-appropriate comic book starts an honest conversation about how what we choose to eat and drink can help -- or hurt -- animals.”
The newspaper noted that the organization seemed to stop short of actually apologizing but offered a peace offering in the form of dairy-free ice-cram sandwiches.
The school issued its own statement reiterating that it did not have prior knowledge of the graphic comic and that principal Esther Gillis "would never have authorized the distribution of those pictures or the message that milk is unhealthy."
(H/T: The Sacramento Bee)