Pony painting parties for children’s birthday bashes branded ‘cruel’ by animal welfare campaigners

The events which have taken place across the country involve activities for youngsters where they paint designs onto ponies with special chalk-based paint.

Effectively, the pony becomes a blank canvas for the kids to draw on, create designs or just write their names.

But PETA UK – the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – have hit out at the events saying it is a “disturbing trend” and stated that ponies and horses “aren’t party props”.

A petition set up by Sophie Tomlinson, from Altrincham, Cheshire, has launched a petition on change.org to ban the events had has already picked up more than 7,500 signatures in just three days.

She said: "Pony painting parties are a disturbing trend popping up all over the UK.

"Imagine being tied up amidst shrieking laughter, unpredictable touching and having strangers smear your hair in paint. Would you trade places?

"This is happening all over the country to horses right now and we need to take a stand. How would you feel about strangers smearing paint on your pet?"

In a similar move campaigner Joe Callister posted on Facebook, writing: "It teaches us to objectify and use. It teaches us that if human animals are being made to feel happy, we can disregard the non-human animals. It's disgusting, disrespectful and unjust."

His comment, which was accompanied by pictures of the pony parties, has attracted just under 2,000 comments and been shared 1,300 times.

Jacqui Martin wrote: "Strikes me kids should be taught the proper place for drawing is on paper not on beautiful animals – are parents so unable to provide stimulating and exciting play and entertainment these days.

"Don’t know who is worse here parents for actually encouraging children to ‘paint a pony’ – or even think painting a pony is OK – or the owners of said ponies who allow their animals to be treated like this in order to make money."

However, not everyone sees it has being harmful for the horses.

Katie Enos said: "As a horse owner its clear the horse is in no way shape or form in danger or being abused.

"If the horse didn't like it, it wouldn't be stood so chilled and eating its haynet. It's not bleach for god sake and easily washed off with a sponge.

"For all you know the kids could be practicing the body parts of a horse, I did as a child. I also painted a skeleton onto my horse for Halloween. There is much more to life then worrying about kids playing with ponies."

Samanna Nicole wrote: “Oh dear, someone call PETA on me… my dude happened to be the happiest horse on the block that Halloween. Some non-toxic paint and a hour or 2 is not going to harm this horse. Come on now, common sense people.”

While Jen Atkinson chipped in with: “What a load of tripe pony is fussed over and paid attention I highly doubt he was taken the piddle out of when he went back to his field .. However if anyone feels their pony has a claim please let me know I’m happy to take on his/ her case.”

Helen Preece, who runs My Happy Equine which supplies the paint for the parties says the paint is perfectly safe and the ponies do not suffer in anyway,

She said: "There are a lot of companies that do it and there's no harm to the animal. We don't just provide paints for the parties, a lot is for places offering therapy at rising centres for the disabled and it has a massive benefit.

"The paint is applied with a brush so it's exactly the same as grooming a horse. It doesn't go near their nose, mouth or eyes. It's all chalk-based and perfectly safe and washes out with warm water. It's not like the horses are being dyed forever."

Elisa Allen, director PETA UK, said parents should not allow their kids to treat animals like colouring books.

She said: "The first lesson a child should be taught is the golden rule – to treat others as you would wish to be treated. So if children wouldn't like to be forced to stand still while someone painted and drew all over their bodies, it's wrong to subject ponies to the same treatment.

Helen added: "I know some people are against it because I get a lot of negative messages but I would have no issue with any of these people coming along to see how we do it."

Allowing kids to treat animals like colouring books is a lesson in insensitivity to which no thoughtful parents would expose their children.

"Ponies and horses aren't party props – they're intelligent, complex animals who should be appreciated for their natural beauty.

"They're also sensitive and easily spooked – a child might even be kicked by a stressed pony who has been forced into a party environment with loud music and excitable kids.

"Animal exploitation has no place at a children's party, and PETA urges parents to opt instead for cruelty-free activities – like finger painting or face painting."

A spokesman for Diddy Pony Parties, a company that organises the events, said:  "Diddy Pony Parties is aware of the petition. The petitioner has never made contact with DPP and has never experienced what we do.

"DPP places pony welfare as its highest priority and all activities are supervised by knowledgeable and caring equine professionals.

"All materials used in our parties are certified safe for use on animals and specifically equines. The matter is now in the hands of our legal advisers."

Source: Read Full Article