Teens’ Charges in Opossum-Torture Case Warrant Urgent Humane Education, Says PETA

For Immediate Release:
April 13, 2021

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Blair, Wis. – This afternoon, TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—sent letters to Superintendent Jeffrey S. Eide of the Blair-Taylor School District and every guidance counselor in the district urging them to implement lessons in compassion. The appeal follows reports that two local teenagers face felony charges relating to a video showing young people tormenting an opossum, including by pouring beer down his throat, dropping weights on him, and stabbing him with a knife. One teen reportedly admitted to decapitating the animal with an ax.

“If these reports are true, this opossum endured a terrifying, agonizing death at the hands of young people who desperately need lessons in empathy,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “PETA’s TeachKind division is eager to help schools prevent violence by teaching students to understand and respect others.”

The state encourages ethical education through the Wisconsin Character Education Partnership. TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—is offering the school district its “Empathy Now” guide for educators to help address and prevent youth violence against animals along with its “Share the World” curriculum kits, appropriate for young children.

TeachKind notes that according to leading mental-health professionals and law-enforcement agencies, perpetrators of violent acts against animals are often repeat offenders who pose a serious threat to the community at large. Its staff—comprised of former classroom teachers—is available to send materials to schools, suggest lesson plans, and even host classroom presentations for students via Zoom, all for free.

The group’s letter to Eide is available upon request. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind