The New Craze 'Pony Parties' Lets Kids Paint Horses... Is This Cruel?
The new kids party craze of hiring horses for children to paint for entertainment is under fire from animal rights campaigners.
The latest trend for small children’s parties has become quite popular. Miniature horses are used for children to paint and decorate with hand prints and drawings.
People are split as to whether this is cruel to the animals or not. Many members of the public have spoken out about their outrange of the new craze and say it’s teaching children that horses are mere playthings.
Posts on social media say:
"It teaches us to objectify and use. It teaches us that if human animals are being made to feel happy, we can disregard the non-human animals. It's disgusting, disrespectful and unjust."
"Strikes me kids should be taught the proper place for drawing is on paper not on beautiful animals - are parents so unable to provide stimulating and exciting play and entertainment these days. Don’t know who is worse here parents for actually encouraging children to ‘paint a pony’ - or even think painting a pony is OK - or the owners of said ponies who allow their animals to be treated like this in order to make money."
Sophie Tomlinson has set up an online petition calling for the party craze to be banned on change.org, the petition has been signed by more than 60,000 people.
The miniature pony centre down in Devon have spoken against the trend, even though they provide a controlled version of the party themselves.
Manager of the miniature pony centre, Kris, claims there are differences between the parties they provide and the ones that people are against.
She said: “We have some ponies, they are grey as they are best to paint on. But the pony painting is very different. We use pony paint which is a vegetable dye chalk based and there is nothing toxic in it. Our ponies will be painted away from customers by staff, in a stable, so the children don’t go and touch them. Afterwards, they are bathed so paint comes out. The children have no contact with the ponies. They can have a photo taken with the pony which is optional. Painting is not dangerous at all, it’s no different to grooming or bathing them.”
Tony Tyler, deputy chief executive of the charity World Horse Welfare told The Guardian: "While painting any animal is not to everyone’s taste, we do not feel there is a welfare issue, provided the ponies involved are not showing any signs of distress and the paint used is non-toxic. Many horses and ponies greatly enjoy human interaction and attention. If a pony was not of a suitable temperament, then it should not be used for this role.”