Category Archives: Fundraising

The Problem with Petting Farms

A walk through the children’s section of any bookstore or library shows there’s no shortage of books about animals. They’re often seen as a favourite, with photos of cute baby animals awakening the curiosities of young children who are starting to learn and explore. Field trips to museums are used to help children learn about science and the arts, but when it comes to teaching children about animals, a different type of experience is usually involved.

You can find petting farms are everywhere, especially during the summer and fall months where weekend agendas are filled with fairs, festivals, and trips. Some exhibitors even allow their animals to be rented for parties and gatherings. Petting farms are marketed as a fun, hands-on family experience where children can pet, feed, and interact with a variety of animals. Ponies, sheep, goats, llamas, pigs, and even exotics animals can be found at these establishments. And of course, cameras are encouraged so you can take advantage of those photos ops.

This might seem like a fun and completely innocent way to teach children about animals, but is it providing a true educational experience? Not really. Plus lack of a true educational experience isn’t the only reason you should forego that trip to a petting farm. There are legitimate concerns connected to health, safety and general animal welfare.

Health and Safety Concerns

Any parent will tell you that germs are always a concern when you have children, but the worry goes beyond catching a virus from friends at the playground. Petting farms and other animal exhibits expose people to dangerous farmnotic diseases, including E. coli, a potentially life-threatening bacteria that can result in hospitalisation.

Safety is another concern with animal exhibits. A bear cub named Boo Boo in the US was almost put to death after innocently nibbling on the hands of students when he was brought to a university from a local petting farm. He was only doing what cubs naturally do, yet we choose to punish animals when we are the ones at fault by placing them in stressful, unnatural situations. Animals of all species can be unpredictable, causing a potential risk if a child is accidentally bitten or knocked over. And the animals themselves can become sick or seriously injured through mishandling or being fed species-inappropriate foods, causing unnecessary pain and suffering.

It’s No Fun for the Animals

Children naturally get excited when they see animals, but look at things from the animal’s perspective. Not only are you confined to a small area, you have countless numbers of people petting, hugging and poking you, usually while making a lot of noise. Wouldn’t you feel a bit scared and overwhelmed? Animals are no different than humans in their ability to experience stress and fear. Teaching children about animals should involve learning about animal behaviour and habitats, which is practically impossible to do in that type of environment.

Captive environments are inhumane because they prevent animals from being able to exhibit the same natural behaviours they would if they were roaming free, negatively affecting their mental well-being. The only thing you’re teaching children is that it’s okay to keep animals confined and unhappy for our enjoyment.

Even if animals seem to be receiving adequate care (which they rarely are), an astonishing number are subjected to neglect and cruelty. And those baby animal exhibits that are so popular? What happens when the cute babies grow up into adults, or to the adults when they become too old for the attraction? For places looking to maximise profits, these animals are likely sold for slaughter — and if they’re exotics, sold into the pet trade. There are plenty of ways to teach children about animals without contributing to the cycle of cruelty.

Teaching Children About Animals the Right Way

We should be teaching children about compassion, and to view animals as living, sentient beings. This can’t be taught through glass and wire enclosures. Reputable sanctuaries are one way to teach children about animals while viewing them in a more natural environment than the confinement of a cage. Legitimate sanctuaries rescue animals who have been mistreated, allowing you the opportunity to teach children about the importance of kindness toward other living beings. They will see animals as they should be: roaming, happy, and free from pain and suffering. If you want to teach children about animals the right way, check out these alternatives to visiting zoos and petting farms.

The Fallout

Louth SPCA are currently removing animals from such a petting farm in County Louth. Some of the animals removed require specialist care due to their species, and many are in need of urgent veterinary attention. Most of the animals recovered are underweight and malnourished due to the primary business going under and the petting farm being abandoned as a consequence.

You can see some of the animals rescued, learn more and donate towards their care if you wish, at https://www.gofundme.com/louth-spca

Win a hurling masterclass with DJ Carey for your club!

Cait, one of the Louth SPCA committee members, is organising a DJ Carey Hurling Masterclass competition to raise much needed funds.

How to enter

  1. Complete the competition entry form attached below.
  2. Clubs may submit as many competition entries as they wish. It should be indicated on the entry form how many entries are being made.
  3. Each individual entry is EUR100. If a club wishes to submit for example 3 entries, please indicate 3 entries on the form and submit a cheque for EUR300.
  4. Return the completed entry form along with the cheque (made payable to the Louth SPCA) to: June Naylor, Treasurer, Louth SPCA, “The Manse”, Dublin Road, Dundalk, Co Louth. Completed competition entry forms and cheques must be received by 5pm on Friday 13 July 2018.

Competition rules

  1. All GAA clubs on the island of Ireland are eligible to enter the competition.
  2. A club will be deemed to have entered the competition when the completed application form and cheque are received by Louth SPCA.
  3. The prize will consist of a 3-hour hurling masterclass with DJ Carey at a weekend date in August 2018, in the winning teams club grounds. The date and format are to be agreed between the winning club and DJ Carey when the winner is announced.
  4. The winner will be chosen at random and the winning club will be notified by phone on Friday 20 July 2018.
  5. Louth SPCA may take photographs at the masterclass which the winning club agree may be used on the Louth SPCA website and social media for promotional purposes.
  6. No other prize substitute is available.

Queries

For any queries on the competition, please contact Louth SPCA Committee member Cait Monagher by email on caitmonagher@hotmail.com

Pop Up Shop

Have you been to our Pop Up Shop in the Long Walk Shopping Centre today? No? Really?! Well don’t panic, we are there every day this week until Saturday, 10 am to 5pm, in an attempt to raise much needed funds.

Plenty of bargains to be had!

If you would like to volunteer to help in the shop, contact June on 087 2263422

Christmas Donation Appeal

Many kind hearted people like to make a donation to charity around Christmas. We would ask that you consider the Louth SPCA this year when you go online to donate.

We currently have a lot of dogs and cats in the shelter, and believe it or not, they have to be fed and kept warm while they are here! Many of them also have vet bills that need paying plus other special needs.

The staff here are all voluntary, we get no pay at all, but we DO need money to keep the animals comfortable. If you can spare anything at all this year, please help us out! Thank you.

Your donation will provide food and shelter for rescued animals and help with the maintenance of our shelters
Other Amount:

Louth SPCA is registered charity number CHY 12479. Never give anything to anyone claiming to be a charity but not displaying their CHY number eg. “Animal Ark” or one of these outfits.