As one who is voluntarily childless (because I'm one of those whose opinion of children is quite low), I will pipe in my 2¢. I missed the HRH's original comments, and only caught smatterings after that, so it's entirely possible that I'm not even discussing the right topic.
So, after all those disclaimers (it comes from working around too many lawyers - please try to understand), I'm going to agree with jmfryar about publicly displayed art, particularly that which is displayed outdoors, like the painted sculptures that were all over DC about a year ago. It appears to be intended as fun, and fun for a child isn't "look but don't touch." A cow (or elephant, or donkey, or fire hydrant) that's painted up in some fancy fashion begs to be explored with more than simply eyes. Of course, parents should do what they can to make sure the kids don't get hurt falling off, but if I were to put a painted cow in a public park or on a sidewalk, I don't really feel I'd have much to gripe about if I noticed signs of wear and use on it after a while. If I didn't want people to experience my art that way, I wouldn't display it that way.
So my questions are, if there were signs, ropes, fences, or anything else indicating that the cows should be treated in a particular way, what were the parents doing letting their children abuse them? If there were no signs, ropes, fences or anything else indicating that the cows should be treated in a particuar way, what's the problem?
Back in the Bicentennial days, the city of Anaheim, California let all the people paint the fire hydrants as revolutionary figures. It was very cute, and somewhere in my boxes of who-knows-what, I have a fairly large photographic record of just what interesting ideas people came up with. But everybody involved knew that these were FIRE HYDRANTS, and everybody involved also knew what dogs do when they get near one.
--I know what I like--