‘Elk hunting is no child’s play’

Animal rights campaigners are in uproar over reports that a pre-school in northern Sweden took its children out elk hunting. It was all pretend but campaigners allege that an ulterior motive lay behind the brutal game.

The children, attending Vintergatan pre-school in the northern Sweden town of Gräsmyr, were taken on a pretend elk hunt last week and were encouraged to shoot at an elk puppet made from cloth and filled with buns.

The move was tasteless, argues Alexandra Leijonhufvud at animal rights group Djurens rätt, who question whether the pre-school’s actions were consistent with the national curriculum.

“Pre-school children are a target group identified by the Swedish Association for Hunting and Wildlife Management (Jägareförbundet). They run specific campaigns to encourage children’s interest in killing animals,” wrote Leijonhufvud in an open letter on the group’s web page.

Staff at Vintergatan pre-school do not agree, local newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren writes.

“For our children who grow up in an environment where hunting is part of everyday life it is important that the children also be given the chance to take a position on the issue, as part of their pre-school education,” said teacher Maria Nygård.