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It pays to be a cute animal: New Zealand town cancels dead rabbit throw, proceeds with pig hunt

November 10, 2009 | 10:17 pm

RabbitThe tiny New Zealand town of Waiau's social calendar is a bit lighter after an outcry prompted organizers to cancel a planned dead-rabbit-throwing contest for children.

The contest is an annual affair that signals the start of another non-animal-friendly town event -- a pig hunt.  The events have apparently been held in tandem without incident for years.

But this year, all that changed when the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals learned of the rabbit throw. RNZSPCA officials argued that throwing dead rabbits for fun was not only cruel, but also set the stage for future cruelty by sending a message to children that playing with dead animals can be a form of recreation. Animal cruelty inspector Charles Cadwallader likened the spectacle to throwing "your dead grandmother around for a joke," but the rabbit throw's organizer, Jo Moriarty, insists it was intended to be an innocent affair. 

Canceling the rabbit throw is an example of out-of-control political correctness, Moriarty told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She denies that tossing dead rabbits about has had any detrimental effect on the kids' compassion, insisting that "[the] children in this community are fantastic, they love their animals." 

The pig hunt went on as planned late last month. Score: Rabbits: 1; Pigs: 0.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Los Angeles Times file photo

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