NASHVILLE, TN—Shedding new light on what has long been an article of faith in many American households, early education researchers at Vanderbilt University announced new findings Monday which indicate that forcing a child to shoot a dying pet will only teach them an important lesson about mortality the first five or so times they do it. “Despite the long-held belief that some important life lessons are best taught by having your child place the muzzle of a firearm between the soft and pleading eyes of a beloved puppy or kitten and pulling the trigger, intensive research unequivocally demonstrates that children do not experience emotional growth after shooting their fourth or fifth animal, and the repeated slaughter of beloved pets may actually begin to have an effect opposite from that intended,” said lead researcher Margaret Franklin, adding that the results were the same whether the animal being shot was a beagle, Scottish Fold kitten, guinea pig, or even an iguana. “We tested this extensively, with one group of children shotgunning over 40 animals from as many as 12 species, and in each case, we began to see diminishing returns, some as early as pet number three. After that point, rather than learning a healthy respect for death, children become numb to it, in many cases even begin actively seeking the power associated with it.” At this point in the study, Franklin could neither confirm nor deny that substituting of the children’s aging grandparents might be more effective.
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