Hello possums! New Zealand schoolchildren encouraged to dress up DEAD animals in bizarre competition


Prettiest possum? Not content with dressing this one in pink and elaborate jewels, one participant obviously thought it needed one more detail - a pair of stick-on eyes

Dressed in wedding gowns and bikinis - their eyes fixed, jaws stiffened and bodies frozen in time - you might be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled on to a taxidermist fancy dress convention.
However, these furry corpses formed part of a display at a school in New Zealand which held a bizarre best-dressed dead possum competition as part of a fundraising day.
Children let their imaginations run wild when they dressed the dead animals in all their finery for the contest at Uruti School on New Zealand's North Island.

He could have been a contender: Some might say rigor mortis has helped this entrant strike a pose in the boxing ring. Meanwhile, death imitates art with this entry

One dressed as a boxer had its torso skinned, and one might wonder whether rigor mortis could have helped the animal keep its fighting pose in the ring.
Others were fitted out in baby grows while another worked the Van Gogh look, dressed as a painter complete with smock and easel.
Another was dressed head to toe in pink and elaborate jewels. But the entrant clearly thought something was missing - so they added a pair of stick-on eyes plastered over the animal's real peepers.
The gruesome exhibition is a far cry from the traditional school fundraising efforts of jumble sales and cake baking.

Bad taste: One possum appeared to be dressed as a patient, while another showed off an elaborate hat, wig and claws that are sprayed purple

The school has been criticised for encouraging children to dress up dead animals for the day, which also featured a wild pig hunt.
It has sparked horror with animal welfare groups but teachers defended the contest as 'lots of fun' which helped raise more than £4,000 for the school.
Principal Pauline Sutton told the Taranaki Daily News: 'There was an amazing crowd and it was lots of fun. Animals aren't the only species who are dressed up after they die. We do it to humans too.'

Easy rider: Sat on a child's trike, the outfit of tracksuit bottoms and a fleece jumper is finished with a hat, spectacles and a necklace

However, the event was labelled unacceptable and tasteless by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Spokeswoman, Jackie Poles-Smith told the Independent: 'Animals deserve respect, whether they're wild, domestic or pets. We encourage empathy [for] all animals, even when they're dead, and it's a shame that a school is encouraging its children to do this.'
The possum is an introduced species in New Zealand that wreaks havoc with the native wildlife. This includes threatening the kiwi bird which, along with the fern frond, is a national symbol of the country.
While brush-tailed possums are protected in their native Australia, the species is a pest in New Zealand. Hunting and killing them has become something of a national sport.

Wedding belle: This little girl looks proud as she clutches a dead possum wearing a bridal gown. The event was labelled unacceptable by the animal rights activists

Life's a beach: This entry, left, shows a possum posing in a bikini with a bottle of sun screen close at hand while, right, it is unclear precisely what kind of look this entrant was going for with a black dress, pink wig, stick-on eyes... and painted pink claws

Hanging out: Two possums were fitted out in baby grows. The school defended the creepy contest as 'good fun'

source: dailymail