PETA Urges School District to Make Agricultural Programs Animal-Free After Adviser Is Caught Punching, Yanking Frightened Sheep
For Immediate Release:
June 20, 2019
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
San Joaquin County, Calif. – A video showing a Future Farmers of America (FFA) adviser for Manteca schools punching a sheep and wrenching the animal’s neck has prompted TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—to send a letter today calling for the adviser to be barred from having contact with animals and students because of his failure to teach humane handling. TeachKind is also urging the school district to remove animals from its FFA programs and to keep only those programs that concentrate on plant agriculture. The group points out that program participants already demonstrate a lack of empathy and understanding for animals. One stated, “Petting them like this isn’t going to do anything. You have to be physical to get their attention.” He also said, “Sometimes they get out of hand, so you check ’em with something, just a little hit on the side. … Just [so they] know that you’re the boss.”
“Impressionable young people need to learn that cruelty, disrespect, and violence toward animals are totally unacceptable,” says PETA Director of Student Campaigns and Influence Rachelle Owen. “TeachKind urges this school district to teach kids and educators to stop perpetuating this disregard for vulnerable animals and to hold this adviser accountable for punching a sheep.”
TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that just last year, an FFA student in Texas was accused of dragging a squealing pig by a rope before shooting her in the head on school grounds. In 2017, a California student reportedly tortured and killed a pig believed to be part of an FFA program, burning her and possibly hanging her by the neck.
Leading mental-health professionals and law-enforcement agencies agree that many perpetrators of violent acts against animals weren’t taught empathy when they were young and that they can pose a serious threat to the community at large. TeachKind materials (including anti-violence posters) are available to schools at no cost, and the group’s staff can suggest lesson plans and even host classroom presentations via Skype—all for free.
TeachKind’s letter to Manteca Unified School District Superintendent Clark Burke is available upon request. The group opposes speciesism, which is the human-supremacist view that other animals are nothing more than commodities. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org.