Killing of Cows by Teenagers Prompts Offer of Humane Education

PETA Stresses Need to Teach Anti-Bullying and Empathy in the Classroom—and Urges District to Enact a Policy Against Cruelty to Animals

For Immediate Release:
April 19, 2017

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Leavenworth, Kan.

After news broke that several local teenagers pleaded guilty last week to charges relating to their alleged shooting of six cows last summer, TeachKind—PETA’s humane-education division—sent letters this morning calling on schools in the area to implement lessons in compassion. Some of the cows were reportedly pregnant or nursing at the time, and one was found by a farmer still alive and suffering three days after the shooting.

TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—is mailing Leavenworth elementary schools free copies of its Share the World curriculum kit, which includes lesson plans designed to help educators teach students about empathy and kindness to animals. The group has also offered the schools free “Bullies Are Just Cowards: Report Abuse When You See It!” posters and asked the superintendent of Leavenworth Unified School District 453 to add a prohibition against cruelty to animals to the district’s policies, noting that it’s vital that a standard of compassion be set and that students understand that violence toward any living being is wrong.

“In light of this act of violence and the bullying epidemic that’s so prevalent in schools today, it’s crucial that educators teach young people that it’s not acceptable to hurt animals,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind is urging Leavenworth schools to implement humane education, enact a districtwide policy against cruelty to animals, and encourage students to report any abuse to animals that they witness.”

TeachKind notes that individuals who demonstrate a blatant disregard for life by hurting animals rarely stop there: According to leading mental-health professionals and law-enforcement agencies, perpetrators of violent acts against animals are often repeat offenders who pose a serious threat to the community at large. Its staff is available to send materials to schools, suggest lesson plans, and even host classroom presentations for students via Skype—all free of charge.

The group’s letter is available upon request. For more information, please visit

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