August 7, 2020

Pumpkinfest Petting Zoo

posted on: Thursday October 26, 2017

Row of baby chicks standing in a doorway.

Photo courtesy of Eigenproduktion via the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

by Sarah Kelley ’18

Opinion Co-Editor

Although the heat of summer was still lingering this past Friday, fall was definitely in the air during Providence College’s annual Pumpkin Fest. This autumnal event sponsored by Student Congress, BMSA, BOP, and Community Partners provided a well-deserved break for many students during midterms week and brought the PC community together through a wide array of fall-themed activities.

From delicious donuts and cider to pumpkin decorating, lawn games, and more, Pumpkin Fest was a fun-filled event for all ages. Like so many fun, seasonal PC events, Pumpkin Fest would not be complete without a small petting zoo filled with baby animals.  With chicks, bunnies, goats and ducks, the small pen on Slavin Lawn was overflowing with students and small children alike petting and holding these barnyard babies.

While these interactive animal activities may be fun for humans, should we take greater consideration towards how these innocent animals experience petting zoos?

Crowding a small pen with numerous baby animals alone would create the potential of overstimulation and stress for any young bunny, duck, or chick; therefore, allowing ten or more young children, college students, and adults to fill the remaining open space seems to only guarantee this kind of trauma.

As the initial group of humans entered the pen, the retreat of chickens and ducks to the far walls alone called for greater reconsideration of how these innocent animals are being affected by this “fun” petting zoo experience.

While I am not trying to argue for the end of petting zoos and baby animal events on PC campus, I do think we should reconsider our treatment of these animals and the restrictive conditions under which we are placing them for our own amusement. To what end can we justify our own enjoyment and fun over the well-being and health of these innocent, young barnyard babies?

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