By: Denny Bannister  Date: 01/15/2003 Category: | Animals in Education & Entertainment |

Denny Bannister is assistant director of information and public relations for the Missouri Farm Bureau. He is from Jefferson City, Missouri. This article was printed in the Rolla Daily News in Missouri and is reprinted by permission of the author.

"Isn't it the parent's right to know what's being taught and who's doing the teaching?"

They linger outside school yards, lurking just beyond the boundaries so as not to trespass, waiting for school to let out. They have something to give to children. They seem friendly and harmless.

The bell rings, and kids by the hundreds rush to their buses and bicycles, anxious to go home and play, innocent and totally unsuspecting of the ambush ahead.

The children are easy targets for PeTA-philes.

No, PeTA-philes are not sexual deviants, drug pushers, or others wanting to harm our children. They are members of an animal activist organization called PeTA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, but their treatment of human beings seems anything but ethical.

In fact, PeTA apparently has drawn a philosophical line regarding ethical treatment to include all animals except human beings.

Is it ethical to throw pies in the face of a pretty teenager dressed in a formal gown and wearing a sparkling tiara crowning her queen of the livestock industry?

Is it ethical to seek women wearing fur and throw blood on the coats to ruin them?

Is it ethical to go onto farm property and release confined chickens where most will be welcomed to the wild by foxes and coyotes?

Apparently, PeTA sees no ethical conflict with any of these actions.

But now some members of PeTA are targeting our youth. Just before summer vacation, PeTA went after elementary youth outside Chicago schools, distributing leaflets to inform children they are cruel if they go fishing, claiming they are causing the fish to feel pain.

While summer doesn't officially end for a few more weeks, Labor Day marked the end of summer vacation season and school is back in session. Parents, teachers, and school administrators should be on the alert for renewed activity from PeTA-philes.

Out of necessity, parents trust many people with their children: doctors and nurses, grandmas and grandpas, baby-sitters and daycare providers, school bus drivers and teachers. But can parents trust anyone who waits outside the school yard with the goal of approaching their children?

How can people who preach compassion for animals have so little compassion for their fellow human beings by attempting to force their belief system on the children of others? Isn't it the parent's right to know what's being taught and who's doing the teaching?

Dawn Carr, coordinator of the PeTA-philes anti-fishing campaign in Chicago, said, "Anything we can do to teach children compassion towards animals will help them for the rest of their lives."

That word "anything" scares me. PeTA-philes are cause-driven. They believe they are right and apparently feel the end justifies the means.

Every school in the nation has, or should have, some kind of parent-teacher association. Join! Let it be known targeting your children will not be tolerated.

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