An Abbotsford high school plans to have students skin dead rabbits as part of a food class.
Tanya Hunt told The News she was shocked when her niece, who lives with her, came home with a permission slip informing her the W. J. Mouat grade 9 Foods and Nutrition class would be removing the animals’ pelts to make rabbit stew.
“My initial reaction was kind of in total shock,” she said “The more I thought about it, the more it really bothered me that they were trying to expose the kids to this.”
The letter gave parents two options – allow their child to participate in the skinning or just watch.
Hunt said both are inappropriate.
“I don’t think a lot of children have ever seen an animal skinned,” she said. “I grew up on a farm and it’s not pretty, it’s pretty unpleasant.”
Making the Métis rabbit stew is an “authentic Indigenous experience,”Abbotsford school district spokesperson Kayla Stuckart wrote in an email. She said it is part of the course that teaches students about a variety of cuisines and cultures.
The rabbits will come from a local farmer who raises them for meat, Stuckart said.
“To date, the consent response has been overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “However, the school will continue to monitor all parental feedback from students taking the course and will make a final decision regarding meat preparation closer to the date.”
Hunt said she has Indigenous heritage and supports school efforts to incorporate Metis culture in school.
“But I think that just crosses a line,” she said.
The News has asked to speak directly with someone involved in planning the course and will be reaching out to the Fraser Valley Métis Association for comment.