Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

The McDonaldification Of Hunting: Training Children To Kill In Opotiki

How many ways can a small town in New Zealand get it so wrong when bringing up their children? Opotiki seems to have latched onto a winning formula: Dead animals, children and huge smiles.

In a recent news report, the organizers of the Opotiki Little Three hunting competition for under sixteens said the hard work involved was worth it to see the children’s smiles.

Here again there is another children’s hunting competition in New Zealand. And again there is seemingly little awareness by proponents of the effect the association of violence to animals with gamification and fun might have on children.

And Opotiki sure does not need any more violence.

Opotiki, dubbed the homicide capital of New Zealand, is a small town with a huge reputation for domestic violence and murder. It has been reported that Opotiki had 1.25 homicides for every 1000 people between 2004 and 2019 – and this is the highest rate in the country.

And it gets worse. The small town has high levels of social deprivation, poverty, crime, drug and alcohol abuse. To all intents and purposes, it is a small town that has lost itself. And its children are suffering.

Supporting children growing up in such conditions needs to be a number one priority. These children need the community to rally and put their needs first. They need to be in an environment of no violence, support, compassion and love.

Instead they are encouraged to kill animals.

This competition gamifies killing animals in a number of ways. Firstly, there is the use of the phrase ‘Little Three Combo’ (the McDonaldification of hunting) to refer to a possum, magpie and rabbit. The winner is the one whose combo weighs the most. And then there is the optional wild goat and kahawai that may be brought into the competition as well. All of this comes with spot prizes and ‘family day out’ gala type festivities. The local playcentre is even donating food and drink.

There’s nothing like hooking them in while they are still young and impressionable. The associations of reward centers in the developing brain with a death fest on animals is a sure-fire (excuse the pun) way to bring up more abusers and killers.

Even though this may seem like ‘harmless fun’ to many it is far from it. There is a well-documented correlation between violence toward animals in childhood and later sociopathic behavior including crime, domestic violence and murder.

An article by Jane Dalton in The Independent reported that recent academic research has found that witnessing violence toward animals desensitizes young children and makes them prone to aggression later in life. It causes empathy deficit of the brain.

And so Opotiki will come full circle.

Some may argue that hunting is different than deliberate cruelty toward an animal. It is commonly seen as a way of bonding as a family or community, getting out in the great outdoors, connecting with nature, feeding the family or ridding the environment of pests.

And yet, while it may be those things, it is also so much more. And it is the ‘so much more’ that we need to pay attention to.

In an article for the Daily Nebraskan, Kayla Simon says , “There’s something desperately awful about taking a child out to experience nature by handing them a gun and telling them to kill it. That’s like going to the most beautiful art museum in the world and ripping down canvasses because “someone will just make another one.” It teaches children that killing is a goal, a healthy way to view another life and socially acceptable. “

Opotiki has issues with violence, this much we know. And yet, as a community they have come together to teach their children that violence toward another living creature is socially acceptable. Not only acceptable, but something to be glorified through gamifying it in a competition.

Opotiki is not the only small rural town in New Zealand that engages in these deplorable animal killing fests. Possum hunting competitions have become a mainstay of rural New Zealand schools. These may even involve dressing up dead possums for competitions, hurling them in throwing competitions and carrying them over obstacle courses.

Wake up, New Zealand. It is not rocket science to see the link between the many forms of violence. It’s a one-way street. And it has a dead end.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Use Of Existing Drugs To Reduce The Effects Of Coronavirus

So now, we’re all getting up to speed with the travel bans, the rigorous handwashing and drying, the social distancing, and the avoidance of public transport wherever possible. Right. At a wider level…so far, the public health system has ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Oil Market And Regulation Crusades

Safe to say, Vladimir Putin did not expect the response he has received amidships from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Earlier, Russia chose to walk away from the OPEC talks in Vienna that were aimed at reaching an agreement on how to reduce world oil production (and protect oil prices) in the light of the fall in demand being caused by the coronavirus. No doubt, Russia and its allies in the US shale industry probably glimpsed an opportunity to undercut OPEC and seize some of its customers. Bad move. In reply, Saudi Arabia has smashed the oil market by hugely ramping up production, signing up customers and drastically cutting the oil price in a fashion designed to knock Russia and other oil suppliers right out of contention. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On 22 Short Takes About Super Tuesday

With obvious apologies to the Simpsons….Here’s my 22 short takes on the 14 Super Tuesday primaries that combined yesterday to produce a common narrative –Bernie Sanders NOT running away with the nomination, Joe Biden coming back from the dead, and the really, really rich guy proving to be really, really bad at politics. In the months ahead, it will be fascinating to see if the real Joe Biden can live up to the idea of Joe Biden that people voted for yesterday – namely, the wise old guy who can save the country from the political extremism of the right and the left... More>>

Gordon Campbell On Shane Jones: A Liability No-One Needs To Bear

New Zealand First has needed a diversion after weeks of bad coverage over its dodgy handling of donations, but it really, really doesn’t need what Shane Jones has chosen to provide. According to Jones, New Zealand has ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Strong Man Legacies: Burying Mubarak

Reviled strongmen of one era are often the celebrated ones of others. Citizens otherwise tormented find that replacements are poor, in some cases even crueller, than the original artefact. Such strongmen also serve as ideal alibis for rehabilitation ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Humanity Is Making A Very Important Choice When It Comes To Assange

The propagandists have all gone dead silent on the WikiLeaks founder they previously were smearing with relentless viciousness, because they no longer have an argument. The facts are all in, and yes, it turns out the US government is certainly and undeniably working to exploit legal loopholes to imprison a journalist for exposing its war crimes. That is happening, and there is no justifying it... More>>

Gail Duncan: Reframing Welfare Report

Michael Joseph Savage, the architect of the 1938 Social Security Act, wouldn’t recognise today’s Social Security Act as having anything to do with the kind, cooperative, caring society he envisioned 80 years ago. Instead society in 2020 has been reduced ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>


 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog