You may hear people over the next day or so bleating (pun definitely intended) about how immoral and cruel the petting zoo is. The fact of the matter is, however, that this sort of event is beneficial to all parties concerned, even including the animals.
Animals used for these sort of events are, by their very nature, sociable creatures. Positive interaction such as that seen today can only be beneficial to these domesticated creatures. From the animal’s perspective, although having 1,500 ugly mutts staring at you in a gormless manner expelling strange noises in your direction will surely seem like a chore after a while, it surely beats yet another day in the field looking at the same patch of sky or ceiling having (probably) nothing to do all day, although if you believe the naysayers (or should that be neighsayers?) then they MUST hate it because they all love standing around in a field somewhere in their ‘natural habitat’. Boredom is a big problem for domesticated animals, and they are cleverer than they look; positive activity and intriguing new surroundings (still with familiar people) will provide stimulation which can only serve to provide some respite to their mundane lives (although being a dog would be the coolest thing ever). Animals love attention – its far better for them to be given some than be ignored in a random field, pen or room somewhere.
So the animals probably had a good time, and there was very little danger of them feeling distressed, with expert staff on hand to ensure things ran smoothly, yet were still familiar to the animals. If any of them were showing signs of distress then there was the facility to take them out of the pen. As you can see from the title image, hay and straw was provided. So there should be no animal welfare issues whatsoever.
Judging by the number of snapchats I received, people seemed to be enjoying the event, and it’s a great way to ensure that many students have a small glimmer of respite from their otherwise dreary, caffeine-filled January. The whole purpose of the event was to ‘de-stress’, and if people came away from the redbrick feeling happy then what’s the problem?