Teens Allegedly Strike Pregnant Cow With Car, Prompting PETA to Send Empathy Curricula to Local Schools

For Immediate Release:
May 6, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Following reports that two local 16-year-olds intentionally hit a pregnant cow with their vehicle, causing injuries so severe that she had to be euthanized, TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—sent urgent letters today offering the group’s free resources to the superintendents of Henry and Watertown school districts to help prevent future acts of cruelty. Enclosed with the letters are kindness-to-animals educational materials, including “Empathy Now,” a guide to preventing violence by young people; “Challenging Assumptions,” which helps students examine discrimination and other social justice issues; and a copy of Animalkind: Remarkable Discoveries About Animals and Revolutionary New Ways to Show Them Compassionby PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, with an offer of class sets of the book for the districts’ high schools.

collage of AnimalKind cover and Teachkinds Empathy now cover

Video footage of the disturbing incident—in which the teens can be heard laughing after striking the cow—was shared on social media. The driver has been charged with felony cruelty to animals, careless driving, and hit and run, and the passenger has been charged with aiding and abetting cruelty to animals.

“When young people think it’s funny to hit a pregnant cow with a car in a quest for social media notoriety, it’s clear that empathy education is essential from an early age,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “Compassion can be cultivated, and TeachKind stands ready to help Henry and Watertown schools teach their students that every sentient being, whether a cow or a classmate, deserves empathy and respect.”

Sandy Hook Promise includes cruelty to animals on its “10 Critical Warning Signs of Violence” list, and research shows that approximately 43% of school shooters first committed acts of cruelty against animals—so animal abusers potentially pose a serious threat to communities at large. TeachKind resources are easy to integrate into schools’ existing curricula to help prevent future violence.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. TeachKind offers free presentations, lessons, and other resources to help teachers add compassion to their curricula. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org or follow the group on Facebook or Instagram.

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