PETA Urges DeKalb County High to Steer Clear of Frog-Killing Contest

Raising Money by Maiming Animals Hurts the Animals and Students, Warns Group

For Immediate Release:
July 2, 2013

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

TeachKind, PETA’s humane-education division, has sent an urgent letter to Patrick Cripps, principal of DeKalb County High School, and Mark Willoughby, director of DeKalb County Schools, urging them not to take part in a fundraiser being held by the DeKalb County Young Farmers and Ranchers in which countless frogs will be impaled with multipronged spears through their sensitive skin, tissues, and organs and will likely bleed to death in an event called “Giggin’ for Grads.” In its letter, TeachKind points out that the event will result in severe pain for the frogs and also desensitize students to the suffering of others. TeachKind makes several suggestions for fundraisers that all can enjoy without anyone having to suffer and die, such as dodgeball games, rubber-duck derby racing, and vegan bake sales.

The link between violence against animals and violence directed toward human beings is well established. Many serial killers and even some of the high school shooters in recent years started out by harming and killing animals before moving on to human targets, as actor Julie Benz explains in this PETA video.

“Raising money by mutilating frogs is sure to haunt many of these students once they realize the severe suffering that they caused,” says Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “Instead of embracing cruel ideas like slaughtering animals, the school officials responsible should look in the mirror and start ‘diggin’ for decency.’”

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PETA’s letter to DeKalb County High School follows.


To DeKalb County High School Staff:

My name is Nina, and I am writing from TeachKind, the humane-education division of PETA. I work with hundreds of educators around the country to help them bring kindness and compassion to their schools and classrooms, so I was deeply disturbed to find out about your plans to allow the “Giggin’ for Grads” fundraising event to go forward as a way to raise money for DeKalb County High School. This event is cruel and also sends your students the message that it’s OK to inflict pain and suffering upon other living beings. With so many fun and effective fundraising options that are completely cruelty-free, there’s simply no reason to hold an event that involves such callous violence as a means to raise money for your school.

Frogs, just like humans, are vertebrates with a complex nervous system. They react to painful stimuli the same way that all animals do—their breathing rate increases, their muscles contract, they try to escape, and they can even cry out for help. As you may know, gigging involves impaling frogs with a multipronged spear, causing them extreme pain and terror as they are stabbed through their sensitive skin, tissues, and organs. As they bleed out or succumb to shock or organ failure, these animals die a slow, agonizing death.

The link between violence to animals and violence toward people is clear, and issues such as bullying and violent acts in schools are becoming increasingly common and disconcerting. Why, then, would an educational institution ever want to promote violence for any reason? Gigging frogs is exceedingly cruel under any circumstances, but to maim and kill animals in an event designed to support local youth is truly shameful and counterproductive. As education leaders, you are obligated to set a positive example for your students. By canceling this event, you can use this opportunity instead to teach your students to have empathy and compassion for animals and help build a foundation for individuals who will go on to treat other people with kindness and respect.

We understand that fundraising is a necessity for schools, and luckily, there are so many great ways to raise money while promoting kindness in your school. Dodge-ball games, rubber-duck derby racing, and vegan bake sales are just a few examples of humane and successful ways in which schools and organizations have reached and exceeded their fundraising goals. Please, show your students that there is no need to harm others in order to have fun or raise money for a cause. I have attached a list of even more humane fundraising ideas that you could host in place of “Giggin’ for Grads,” and I would be happy to discuss these with you further and work together to come up with a fun, exciting, and effective way to raise funds for your school—one that pleases you and your students and does no harm to local wildlife.

Thank you for your consideration, and we hope that you will make a compassionate choice for your students as well as for the animals.


Nina Kahn
TeachKind | People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals



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