PETA calls for end to school's agriculture program amid animal drowning case

Teacher at Forest High School accused of drowning 'nuisance' animals in class


OCALA, Fla. – PETA is calling for an end to a Marion County high school's agriculture program after students said two raccoons and a possum were drowned in class with the help of a teacher.

TeachKind, PETA's humane education division, sent a letter to Forest High School administrators Thursday urging them to remove all animals from the school's Future Farmers of America program.

The letter comes after students said the teacher carried out the drowning last week because the animals were considered to be nuisances to the program.

[RELATED: FWC says drowning isn't humane way to kill nuisance animals | Superintendent: Ocala teacher should be fired for drowning raccoons]

In the letter, Teachkind officials wrote that they believe FFA programs that use animals teach students that animals are just objects to be bought, sold and killed by humans, according to a press release from PETA.

"Impressionable young people learn by example, so when a teacher torments and kills animals, it sends a dangerous message that violence toward others is acceptable," PETA senior director of youth outreach and campaigns Marta Holmberg said. "TeachKind is urging the school to remove animals from its harmful FFA program and to take steps to ensure that no more lives are lost on school grounds by teaching kids and educators to respect all living, feeling beings."

Teachkind also backed their call for action with a statement explaining that some top mental health professionals in the industry and law enforcement officials have said that people who carry out violent acts against animals lack empathy and can be considered a serious threat to their community as a whole.

Questions continue to surround the incident last week after students were captured on video helping the teacher hold the raccoon and its cage under the water. When the animal gasps for air, they can be seen putting a hose inside its mouth and filling it with water.

News 6 legal analyst Steven Kramer and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officials both called the actions inhumane.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission website, raccoons are classified as wildlife that can become "nuisance animals." Any nuisance animal is still to be euthanized humanely.

What is humane and what is not?

The FWC refers to the "Guidelines for Euthanasia of Animals," prepared by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

According to its latest publication, acceptable forms of euthanizing an animal include a single shot to the head. Unacceptable forms include drowning.

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