The following is a
guest post by animal welfare reporter and activist Deborah Kay Steinken.
California's educational code states, "Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of the pupils … kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures." Eleven states with similar laws are Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin.
"Humane education" is the term for any curriculum
that teaches students to care for animals in their homes and communities. The
goal is to create a culture of empathy and caring by stimulating students'
moral development and sense of responsibility, therefore creating a more
compassionate and responsible society.
TeachKind, the humane education division of PETA, helps to promote these objectives by offering schools free
books, lesson plans, videos, posters, and other resources. While students learn
math, reading, and writing, they are simultaneously learning about compassion,
empathy, and respect toward all animals. Teaching children that they can help
animals and make a difference in the world gives them a strong sense of
competency and compassion.
If a student speaks about animal abuse at home, teachers
must immediately report it to authorities in order to prevent the possibility that
other children or family members will be abused. The state of California
recently added the humane society, animal control officers, and veterinarians
to the list of professionals that are bound by law to report possible child
abuse, and the California
legislature is now considering a bill that would list animal abusers on an
online registry similar to those that currently list sex offenders and
By teaching children to foster kindness, respect, and
empathy for both human and non-human animals, students are learning the true
value of all living things. This is why I'm volunteering to deliver TeachKind materials
to schools in my area.
Are you involved in promoting
humane education in schools? Let me know in the comments section below!
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.