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PETA reaches out to schools in Cedar Springs regarding turtle mutilation video

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CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reached out to schools in Cedar Springs after learning about the gruesome video that a local student posted to Facebook showing family members beheading a live snapping turtle.

FOX 17 first reported the incident Sept. 8, when an outcry spread throughout social media as many residents protested, as well as defended, the turtle mutilation.

TeachKind is the youth outreach division of PETA, which focuses on supporting humane education in schools.  Nina Kahn, TeachKind coordinator, emailed several principals of schools in Cedar Springs on Friday.

“PETA was very disturbed to see this act of violence on video, as were many other people,” said Kahn. “That’s why we’re reaching out to schools to let them know that countless studies show that people who abuse animals will rarely stop at that.”

As FOX 17 reported, a Cedar Springs student, who does not attend Cedar Springs Public Schools, posted the video to her Facebook page, showing herself and her brother using pliers and a hacksaw to slowly saw off the head of a living snapping turtle. According to their Facebook comments, they said they used the turtle for food.

Kahn said concerned residents reached out to PETA. In TeachKind’s emailed letter to school principals in Cedar Springs, Kahn suggested multiple resources to embed lessons on empathy, and animal cruelty resources, into the classroom.

“We can offer schools free student materials, free lesson plans, we can help schools start their own animal rights clubs,” said Kahn. “So we’re hoping to hear back from some Cedar Springs principals to take us up on some of our resources.”

In response, Dan George, superintendent of Creative Technologies Academy in Cedar Springs, reportedly the school of the student who posted the Facebook video,  emailed a letter to FOX 17.

George made it clear that this mutilation incident did not happen on school grounds, but said their curriculum and Strong Character Education Program includes developing traits like kindness.

George also said that the school offers counseling services for anyone adversely affected by these issues.

Initially, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also reviewed this video. Ed Golder, DNR public information officer, said although the DNR is disappointed that this video was posted to social media, and advocates a faster means of killing an animal, the DNR called this beheading legal.

“Legal or not, to slowly saw the head off a living, breathing being is unarguably inhumane,” said Kahn. “We’re hoping schools will incorporate lessons on humane education, to help prevent any unneeded suffering.”

George also told FOX 17 that he is a hunter and that he stands by this legality, but does not approve of the way this snapping turtle was killed. George said he is willing to consider curriculum suggestions, and may reach out to TeachKind in the future.

As of Tuesday evening, Kahn said no schools officials have reached out to TeachKind.

For anyone who would like more resources on humane education, see

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  • Toby

    this is the best way to kill a snapping turtle although it should be quicker this way they bleed out.people need to realize where food comes from.meat in a supermarket came from an animal that was killed and butchered.this is reality

  • Chu

    This is is so wrong what the kids did. But you made it sound like all the schools in cedar springs are bad because of what 2 kids did. It shouldn’t be about the schools it should be about the kids and the parents that raised them.

  • Greg

    As much as I hate to say it, I agree with the DNR here. A hatchet is the proper tool for the job, not a hacksaw.

    As for PETA, and FOX17 for that matter, the word mutilation does not apply to butchery. This was obviously a case of foolishness resulting from inexperience and lack of adequate supervision, but the bottom line is that it was being killed for food, which makes this butchery, not mutilation. I agree that it undoubtedly caused needless suffering to the turtle, and that isn’t right, but there is no need to become militant about it. A little education is all that it required here, and some encouragement for the parents to address the issue themselves is all that is necessary.

  • Disgusted

    After this video went viral and those punks realized they could be charged with animal cruelty its obvious they said it was to eat. Of Course they said they were going to use it for food as opposed to facing charges!! My opinion is that this was a thrill kill and these kids wanted AND got thier 15 minutes of Fame!! What great kids and what awesome parenting they have!! NOT! Hmmm. Does anyone know if they were ACTUALLY out hunting for a Snapper or did this innocent Snapper JUST HAPPEN TO WONDER into thier yard and then they thought it would be Really Cool to Slowly Saw Its Head Off! Im Outraged! They can tell any lies they want but I believe they should suffer SOME TYPE OF CONSEQUENCES.

  • Bethany

    I think this is getting ridiculous… They ate the turtle. Who are you people to say they lied? That’s who they are. They hunt and eat their kill. You all act like slaughter houses don’t do worse. I don’t agree with how the thing was killed, but this is done and over with.