Experts Warn That Kids Who Torment Animals Often 'Graduate' to Fellow Humans
For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2014
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382
Portland, Maine – On May 1, a judge ordered two South Portland teenage girls to undergo a psychological evaluation after they were accused of putting an 8-week-old kitten in a microwave oven. The kitten survived the ordeal and has since been adopted. PETA’s education division, TeachKind, is sending letters to Portland and South Portland schools offering to help them implement humane-education lessons and to send free copies of its “Abuse: Report It if You See It” posters to each of the schools in the hope of preventing similar incidents.
TeachKind’s lessons help kids learn to have empathy for all living beings, allowing educators to reach them before they ever lash out violently against anyone—a critical approach, given the proven link between animal abuse and violence directed toward humans. Many serial murderers, including school shooters, first attacked animals, and cruelty to animals often coincides with domestic violence.
“People of any age who harm animals are a threat to society,” says PETA Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind’s lessons and posters urge kids to go to their parents, their teachers, or the police to report cruelty to animals the moment it occurs—for everyone’s sake.”
For more information, please visit TeachKind.org.
TeachKind’s letter to Portland and South Portland schools follows.
Dear Principal Ryan Caron:
My name is Nina, and I’m writing from TeachKind, PETA’s humane-education division. We work with hundreds of teachers nationwide to bring compassion to the classroom. We have heard from members of the South Portland community who are deeply disturbed that two South Portland teenagers are alleged to have microwaved an 8-week-old kitten, reportedly later posting video footage of the incident on social media sites. Authorities are wisely taking this case seriously. As you may know, medical experts and top law-enforcement officials agree: The link between cruelty to animals and interpersonal violence is undeniable. In fact, the FBI uses reports of animal abuse while gauging the threat potential of suspected and known criminals, and the American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders. Many serial murderers, including school shooters, “began” with animals, and animal abuse often coincides with domestic violence.
The prevention of violence can start in the classroom if students are taught to have empathy for all beings. Might you consider incorporating humane education into your curriculum? That way, you’d have a chance to reach kids before they ever do something that puts a life in danger. TeachKind is here to help! I would love to send your school a free anti-violence poster from our youth division, peta2. The poster encourages students to report cruelty to animals whenever they discover it—and displaying it in a prominent location could help save a life. Our staff is always available to send free materials, suggest free lesson plans from TeachKind.org, and even host free classroom presentations with your students via Skype. We’re here to assist you in any way that we can in order to ensure that your efforts to teach kindness are successful.
On behalf of our more than 3 million members and supporters globally, thousands of whom proudly reside in Maine, we thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.
TeachKind Coordinator, PETA