For Immediate Release:
June 2, 2023
Sara Groves 202-483-7382
Syracuse, N.Y. – Following reports that police had arrested three local teens after a swan named Faye was allegedly killed and then reportedly eaten by a suspect’s family over Memorial Day weekend, TeachKind, PETA’s humane education division, sent the superintendent of the Syracuse City School District an urgent letter today, along with kindness-to-animals curricula, anti-violence posters to hang up in schools, and Empathy Now—a guide to preventing young people from committing acts of violence.
According to reports, the teens also face charges for allegedly stealing four of the swan’s babies from the Manlius Swan Pond (police reportedly later recovered two of them in a local home and the others in a store in Salina). The young birds will temporarily remain under the care of a biologist, and Faye’s mate, Manny, will soon be relocated because the loss of a partner can cause distress and combativeness in swans, who mate for life.
“This swan’s babies have been deprived of their mother, her grieving mate has been swimming alone, and she was violently killed—all because a group of teens apparently never learned to empathize with others,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “Compassion can be cultivated, and TeachKind is on standby to help Syracuse City School District teach students that violence is wrong and to report abuse whenever they see it.”
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.
TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. Its other free resources include a high school social justice–themed curriculum (Challenging Assumptions) and the Share the World program kit for young children, both of which it is sending to the Syracuse City School District.