Humane Education

Posted by 7 years ago | Permalink | Comments (4)

Humane Education

© / MShep2

During my time at PETA, I’ve heard about a lot of cruelty-to-animals incidents involving children and teenagers. From shooting geese with air guns to kicking dogs and drowning cats, the cruelty that people show towards other living beings is always shocking.

Just a couple of weeks ago, five teenagers were arrested for allegedly killing a duckling in Salisbury.

When I hear about cases such as these, I realise how important it is to provide children with a humane education from an early age.

If children can’t empathise with the suffering of others – if they can sit back and watch, even laugh, when others in their group deliberately torment an animal (or worse, if they torture an animal themselves) – then aside from causing great suffering to animals, they are also unlikely to be capable of empathising with people.

In fact, there’s a strong link between cruelty to animals and violence towards humans. According to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, human beings who hurt animals are likely to move onto even bigger “game” – their fellow humans.

One of my favourite plays is Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and there is a scene from that play which always sticks in my mind. In the scene, Blanche DuBois says, “[S]ome things are not forgivable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable! It is the one unforgivable thing, in my opinion, and the one thing of which I have never, never been guilty”.

Deliberate cruelty is disturbing and unnecessary, and we can try to prevent it by teaching kindness and compassion from an early age. How we act as parents and teachers and how we behave in public places all play a part in spreading a compassionate message and encouraging children to look upon the animals with whom we share this planet with respect and kindness.


  • Jared commented on April 26, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Wow, you’ve got your blog back – it’s been a while, where’ve you been!!

    I saw this story in the news, have to say I was sickened by the thought that younguns are out there abusing animals, I hope that they get a harsh sentence to teach them a lesson

  • John Gibson commented on May 1, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    The greatest flaw of the human being is that we blame other beings for our own problems, this manifests itself in childhood in various sadistic acts, when a child becomes an adult these tendencies flood into other areas. I’ve observed children in streets trying to kick a pigeon, so I think it is very important for education at a young age. Children should be especially taught about Charles Darwin and evolution, when we understand that all life is inter-connected then we can no longer deem one life is more important than another, which I personally feel is at the heart of animal cruelty. We see animals as just animals its as if our intelligence makes us superior and because animal life lacks intelligence, that gives us a right to do what we want with them. Yet the human being created Auschwitz and the atomic bomb, are we really, that intelligent? We must educate children in many ways, for instance we are a very selfish species we drive other species towards extinction, because we value the taste over the animals life! Education is most important, but I think compassion is what is most needed, we all need to be taught this!

  • Dolores Margaride commented on May 4, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I think we all need stop animal cruelty!

  • KT commented on May 16, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Yay for the return of the Peta UK blog! :o)

    I’m a primary teacher and in the past I’ve tried to teach compassion to children in very simple ways, like putting a spider outside of the classroom instead of squashing it.

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