Written by Michelle Kretzer
It was a tough decision, but PETA has
chosen the winners of our TeachKind
Teacher Appreciation Contest! These two educators best exemplify the TeachKind goals of creatively inspiring students to help animals and encouraging students
to use that inspiration to positively impact their schools and communities.
Here are the
Molly Lile Taylor organizes "Critter Club," a group of students who
meet at the Barren River Animal Welfare Association (BRAWA) to learn about
humane treatment of animals, responsible animal guardianship, the animal-homelessness crisis, careers that involve working with animals, and many other important topics. The
children are a huge asset to the animal shelter, collecting donations, helping
with fundraisers, making toys for the animals, and helping to socialize them. Many
"Critter Clubbers" choose to have their birthday parties at the
shelter and collect items that the animals need instead of receiving gifts.
Critter Club was
so successful that Taylor extended it into the summer with Camp BRAWA. "As
educators, we enjoy watching this interaction and feel a sense of
accomplishment knowing we helped facilitate the relationships between the kids
and the animals," she says. "Our goal for 'Critter Club' is to foster
compassion in the children so that they can grow up to be responsible,
teaches Spanish with a side of animal rights. She has included humane-education
lessons in her curricula every year since beginning her career and says she has
seen a profound difference in the students' lives. This year's lessons centered
on vegetarianism and greyhound racing. The class sampled vegan foods and used PETA's vegetarian/vegan
starter kit to learn how to choose plant-based foods at the supermarket. And after the
class learned about the cruelty behind greyhound racing, which is part of the TeachKind lesson plans, it welcomed a rescued former racer to its classroom.
The kids left
Vigo's class determined to educate others about cruelty-free eating choices and
about why they should not patronize greyhound races. Other educators are
starting to notice the effects that the humane-education classes have had on
Vigo's students. She says, "As educators, it is our job to inspire young
people and to instill values and compassion in them. If we want a better world,
we must start by teaching kids about kindness, respect, and empathy for all."
Congratulations to Molly Lile Taylor and
Teachers, administrators, and parents
who home-school can join
the TeachKind Network to receive free resources to help them implement their own humane-education
Written by Jeff Mackey
At the Los Angeles County Science Fair, PETA presented its
first Special Award for Humane Science—along with a $500 cash prize—to Palos
Verdes Peninsula High School senior Shu Hee "Sophie" Kim for her mathematical model that accurately predicts the growth of breast cancer
cells in patients after they receive radiotherapy treatments. Sophie's project
has also been selected to advance to the Intel International Science and Engineering
Fair (Intel ISEF) next month.
Here's Sophie and her award-winning project
When compared with results from in vitro tests using human tissue, Sophie's model—which she
developed working with a mathematics professor at the University of California–Irvine—accurately
predicted outcomes, which may help doctors better anticipate the effectiveness
of treatments for breast cancer and other forms of cancer.
This award is part of PETA's work to promote humane and
progressive non-animal research. In 2010, after discussions with PETA, the
Intel ISEF—of which the Los Angeles fair is a satellite event—adopted a policy that "strongly endorses the use of non-animal research methods and
encourages students to use alternatives to animal research."
Animal-based breast cancer research typically involves
injecting animals with chemicals or cancer cells and forcing them to endure the
growth of painful tumors until they die or are killed. These cruel studies have
still not identified a cure for the disease, in part because, as National
Breast Cancer Coalition founder Fran Visco has stated, "[a]nimals don't
reflect the reality of cancer in humans."
If you want to donate to the fight against breast cancer,
make sure you're giving to organizations
that won't waste your money on shabby and cruel
experiments on animals.
Written by PETA
Eden II, a Staten Island school for autistic children, recently lost some electronics and rubber duckies to burglars, but it's the theft of Star, the school's hamster, that has students crying and losing sleep.
In an effort to nix any notion about getting a "replacement" for Star, our TeachKind reps have reached out to Eden II officials, offering to replace the classroom hamster with Webkinz, a humane alternative to live classroom animals that combines toys and technology to allow kids to care for adopted friends online. With Webkinz, kids learn responsibility and kindness without subjecting an animal to possible neglect or abuse.
We are also providing the school with information about pet shop cruelty, because most of the exotic animals in pet shops come from filthy warehouses such as U.S. Global Exotics (USGE), where an undercover PETA investigation revealed shocking neglect and cruelty. Hamsters, prairie dogs, lizards, turtles, frogs, and hedgehogs were kept for weeks packed into cattle-watering troughs, cardboard boxes, and plastic bottles, and countless animals were deprived of food, water, light, and ventilation. There was no veterinary care for countless sick and injured animals, who instead were simply left in freezers to die or carelessly tossed into a waste bin. Fortunately, PETA's investigation resulted in the permanent removal of more than 26,000 mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids from USGE—but our fight against this kind of common cruelty continues.
Will Eden II officials accept our offer and decide to ban live animals from their classrooms? I sure hope so. After all, I believe that Star would never wish his frightening fate on another helpless animal.
Written by Karin Bennett
Most of us are feeling the strain of the recession, but schools seem to be among the hardest hit. Teachers are left struggling to put together lesson plans and scrape up materials on a tight budget. Enter TeachKind, a humane-education resource for teachers, administrators, and librarians who want to help students become kinder, more compassionate individuals.
Now I may be a bit biased—I am the TeachKind coordinator, after all—but this is a program that no educator can afford to miss. Our TeachKind Web site offers free lesson plans and materials, including books, DVDs, videos, magazines, comic books, posters, stickers, and more. And as if that weren't enough, we offer step-by-step advice on how to combat issues involving cruelty to animals, and we have a new program that helps educators form effective animal rights groups at their schools.
I could go on about TeachKind for hours, but if you have any questions, e-mail us at Info@TeachKind.org. And if you know any teachers, be sure to tell them about TeachKind and encourage them to sign up for our Teacher's Network, which features new lesson plans, ideas for incorporating animal rights issues into the classroom, and information about exciting contests and giveaways.
Oh, and because you're probably wishing that you had become a teacher right about now, check out this video to get you through to 5 p.m.
Written by Liz Graffeo
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.