An weird children activity was offered by a kindergarten in Thessaloniki, North Greece. The kindergarten organized the unprecedented activity, Body Painting on a Horse!
The action triggered an outrage, animal lovers lashed out at the kindergarten and accused it of “abusing the horse” , while it was sending wrong messages to children.
The kindergarten tried to justified the activity, but in fact poured more oil into the fire.
The kids were distributed what is seems water colors and started to paint on the side of a big white horse, using the poor animals like a paper surface. The action reportedly took place under the supervision of the pedagogues working at the kindergarten Koperti.
The kindergarten uploaded several pictures from the action that it was alleging to bring together children and animals. The pictures were uploaded on September 27th and were deleted on October 17th after an outrage by social media users.
“It was an educational program,” the kindergarten staff replied to dozens of angry comments, where insults and swearing were not excluded.
The educational idea behind this action was allegedly to teach children that “a horse is also canvas where children can learn to respect the other beings also as objects,” and some other pseudo-educational crap that was more the result of a presentation paper by some copy-cat compiling a report downloading favorite sentences from the internet.
The staff argued that such actions bring closer children and animals. “In fact it is a caress with a brush” the KOPERTI staff noted adding that the “horses enjoy it as well due to the calm approach,” and brought as example “children also love face painting, and they do face paining also to teachers.”
A Facebook user commented with a good portion of irony:
“I rescued a beautiful tiny kitten from certain death but I have a problem. The kitten is afraid of me, would not come closer. No wonder after the bad experiences the kitten had, but I want to come close to it. What size of brush would you suggest?”
The horse was tied all the time and some critics suggested it was also sedated.
Many commentators criticized the action saying that it was sending a wrong message to children. Paint a Horse with watercolors under supervision today, throw a bucket of paint over a dog could be next… Not to mention the dangers the kids were exposed should the horse suddenly decide the calm caress of a brush was getting on its nerves.
Animals lovers and welfare organizations threatened to seek the legal ways not only against the kindergarten for misusing the horse but also against the local Horse Riding Club of IOBE for making the horse available for such an action.
According to Greek Law for the Animal Protection (Article 12 Paragraph 2 of Law 4039/12.2) it is forbidden to use animals for entertainment and other recreational activities.
As the outrage continued with every post and comment by the kindergarten, with hundreds of angry comments, the kindergarten posted on Facebook its apologies noting “we understood the experiential way that it was wrong to paint an animal even for educational purposes.” They admitted the body painting on the horse was “a mistake.”.
The apologies did not help. The Greek internet users didn’t buy what they called “cheap explanations, fake apologies and other nonsense” that came after the community was in outrage. They kept and keep lashing out at the kindergarten and at the teachers’ skills raising questions about the abilities to trust their children to such a facility.
“The kids would have learned experimentally that they should not paint a horse, had it started to kick around,” a mother of two commented adding the comments’ of her 11-year-old son “The action showed disrespect to the horse.”
Some suspected the horse was sedated in order to remain calm during the body painting, other blamed the Riding Club for being a regular organizer of horse painting activities.
I can understand that kindergarten staff is always seeking for new ideas to educate kids through pleasant activities, but this is beyond any logic and justification.