Written by Tiffany Rose
Whether it’s a story about a cow who gladly provides farmers with milk or a worksheet that depicts a smiling dolphin who balances a ball on his nose, when my 8-year-old son brings home schoolwork that has anything to do with animals, nine times out of 10, their reality is grossly misrepresented. Even progressive schools like his need help with promoting kindness and compassion for animals!
You don’t need to have children in order to care about what’s being taught in schools. Teaching empathy for animals not only helps them but also lessens the likelihood that kids will grow up to be cruel to other humans.
Here are some ways that you can help make a difference in the lives of animals by promoting humane education in your community:
- Donate TeachKind’s Share the World kit (for elementary school students), animal-friendly books, and PETA Kids comic books to your public library and local schools and also let teachers know that they can contact TeachKind, PETA’s humane education division, if they’d like to have a guest speaker on animal issues address their classroom via Skype.
- “Adopt” a farmed animal from a reputable sanctuary on behalf of your local school and request that the adoption certificate be posted in a prominent place like the main office. (PETA can’t vouch for any facility that we’ve not visited ourselves, but this list of accredited sanctuaries is a good reference.)© iStock.com/KariHoqlund
- Provide your local school’s PTA with information on humane field trips.
- Send copies of PETA Kids’ Kids’ Guide to Helping Animals magazine to the humane educator from your local open-admission animal shelter. If he or she wants more, let us know—we’d be happy to mail additional copies.
- Donate a Learning Resources set of hatching egg replicas that depict the daily development of chickens to replace experiments involving live-hatching chicks, and share this resource with teachers. You can also offer to help them get a free virtual-dissection program for their school.
If you’re a parent, you can do all the above as well as the following:
- Speak to your child’s teacher or principal and share your knowledge about the epidemic of violence by young people against animals and character-education laws. Discuss how helping animals should be part of the school’s program to build character in students.
- Help get an animal rights club started at the school (ask one of your child’s teachers to be the adviser) and sponsor one of its events. (You can also provide vegan snacks.)
- Influence local decision-makers by contacting your child’s teacher and administrators and urging them to replace animal dissection. If your state has a dissection-choice policy that requires teachers to offer humane alternatives, you can make sure that your community’s schools are in compliance with it.
Looking for more ways to get involved with humane education?