“Attitudes toward animals have changed a lot in the hundreds of years and we should make sure nursery rhymes are relevant for kids today and don’t encourage speciesism, cruelty to animals, or fear of them.”
Teachers and parents have been urged to present vegan-friendly versions of classic nursery rhymes since the traditional ones promote unfair and outdated attitudes.
According to vegan charity PETA, just as old songs and fairy tales have been given much-needed makeovers to replace odious, racist and other objectionable words, nursery rhymes should also be changed to reflect a kinder attitude towards animals.
“Attitudes toward animals have changed a lot in the hundreds of years since many nursery rhymes were written,” PETA said in a statement.
“And in the same way old songs and fairy tales have been given much-needed makeovers to replace racist, sexist, and otherwise insensitive language, we should make sure nursery rhymes are relevant for kids today and don’t encourage speciesism, cruelty to animals, or fear of them.”
The charity added: “Animals are intelligent individuals capable of joy and suffering. They’re not ours to exploit, and our language must evolve to reflect this.”
New nursery rhymes
Baa, Baa, Black Sheep famously starts with ‘Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?’
Meanwhile PETA’s version reads: “Baa baa black sheep can I have your wool? No sir, no sir, that’s not cool.”
According to the charity it’s important to change the narrative because “as parents, we know kids are like sponges, soaking up everything they see and hear.
“While things may have been different long ago, we now know that sheep used for wool are bred to grow much more wool than they ever would naturally and are abused and even killed during shearing.
“Sheep need their wool – it’s not ours to take, and a nursery rhyme like “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” should be updated to reflect that.”
In PETA’s rendition of the Three Blind Mice, the mice do not have their tails carved off by the farmer’s wife. In fact, the news lines change the plot with the mice still running after the farmer’s wife but only to thank her for saving their lives.
Meanwhile, the line in Little Miss Muffet which speaks of her being ‘frightened away’ by a spider has been modified to say it ‘brightened Miss Muffet’s day!’
In This Little Piggy ‘roast beef’ has been updated to ‘roast beets’.
The new rhymes are featured on PETA’s website and are part of a trend of woke children’s literature.
PETA spokesperson Elisa Allen said: “Words matter and nursery rhymes that make light of cruelty to animals or contain archaic, negative depictions of them need a modern overhaul.
“Small changes like Peta’s can instil empathy and compassion. Since humanity is increasingly realising that animals are not ours to exploit, the songs we sing to our children – who absorb everything they see and hear – must reflect these values.”
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