New Zealand School Dresses Possums In Breathtaking Finery But Only Because the Possums Are Dead

Elementary schoolers at the Uruti School in New Zealand helped dozens of dead possums achieve the goals they never achieved in life last weekend, and now people are giving them grief for it.

A carrion costume contest was held as part of the school's inaugural Pig Hunt competition.

Photos from the event show dead possums dressed as live painters laying bare their souls on tiny possum-sized canvases, live boxers doling out crushing KO's inside the ring, and live dress-wearers, wearing a dress while being alive.

The possums look great, in other words. Like human beings, only dead possums. Congrats to all the entrants.

The pig hunt and poss-tume contest were held to raise funds for "a new shade cloth" for the school of 14 pupils.

Indeed, it certainly appears Uruti will need a cloth to protect itself from shade, as the New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) began throwing some as soon as they caught wind of the story.

Spokeswoman Jackie Poles-Smith worried that such dead animal fun would teach children not to recognize possums as their betters:

"The SPCA's focus is on teaching children respect and empathy for animals and they didn't do that. Animals deserve respect even after death."

In response to the criticism, school principal Pauline Sutton said that Uruti was very involved in conservation efforts.

The original article posted online by the Taranaki Daily News has received hundreds of sharply divided comments. One poster described the contest as a "brilliant idea," while another noted that it would have been "completely abhorrent" to have "dressed up the Nazi war criminals' bodies after the Nuremberg trials."

A poll asking readers whether the dressing up dead possums for a school fundraiser was "inhumane" or "hamless fun" has received over 1500 votes, with a slight majority (52.5%) coming down on the side of fun.

The school ended up raising $8,000 – more than double the amount it was hoping for.

Shade cloths for everyone.

Or maybe just two shade cloths.

[Taranaki Daily News // Stuff.co.nz // Image via Silva Vaughan-Jones for Shutterstock]