What is Humane Education

The National Humane Education Society has clearly outlined the definition of what Humane Education is.

Humane Education teaches people how to accept and fulfill their responsibility to companion animals. It teaches people to understand the consequences of irresponsible behavior and finally, Humane Education encourages the value of all living things.

As today’s society has come to recognize the connecting link between child abuse, animal abuse and violence against people, the need for effective humane education in our schools is greater than ever. 21st Century CARES hopes that you will join us in our efforts to, “Foster a sentiment of kindness to animals in children and adults.”

An effective Humane Education program provides:

Sound educational methods
Current information relating to animals
Clear goals/objectives
21st Century CARES Humane Education Kits will help local humane societies, teachers and individuals teach kindness and respect toward animals. Remember, Humane Education curriculums need to be interesting and they need to promote critical thinking as well as responsible decision-making.

21st Century CARES Humane Education materials and pages contains:
Sample lesson plans
Activities for children who want to help animals
Tips on how to connect with schools locally
Innovative and interactive ways to present a variety of humane issues
Lists of topics for discussion that encourage empathy for animals
Additional articles and research studies with pertinent humane information
Additional resources for implementing an effective program

Below is a compilation of various thoughts and ideas relavant to Humane Education Requirements:

Humane education involves far more than the teaching of simple animal-related content. It is a process through which we:
Assist children in developing compassion, a sense of justice, and a respect for the value of all living creatures
Provide the knowledge and understanding necessary for children to behave according to these principles.
Foster a sense of responsibility on the part of children to affirm and act upon their personal beliefs.
From: People & Animals: A Humane Education Curriculum Guide

Teaches about something that all kids love÷animals
Uses animals as motivational tool to teach other curriculum areas
Socially responsible
many people own pets at some point in their lives
issues affect everyone÷what you eat, wear, do, etc.
Studies show that many criminals who have committed violent crimes against people were animal abusers as youngsters.
Children are trained to extend justice, kindness, and mercy to animals become more just, kind, and considerate in their relations with each other. Character training along these lines will result in men and women of broader sympathies, more humane, law-abiding÷in every respect more valuable citizens. Humane education is teaching in the schools and colleges of the nation the principles of justice, goodwill, and humanity toward all ife. The cultivation of the spirit of kindness to animals is but the starting point towards that larger humanity which includes oneās fellow of every race and clime. A generation of people trained in these principles will solve their difficulties as neighbors and not as enemies.

Teaching of Kindness to Pets, Humane Treatment, etc., Required.
Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of the pupils the principles of morality, truth, justice, patriotism, and a true comprehension of the rights, duties, and dignity of American citizenship, including kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures, to teach them to avoid idleness, profanity, and falsehood, and to instruct them in manners and morals and the principles of free government.
(Last amended 1965: renumbered 1977.)

To the Student
Makes academics relevant to their world
Uses common experiences familiar to student
Teaches important concepts and values
To the Teacher
Highly motivating for students
Stimulates learning
Teachers enjoy using materials
To the Animals
Respected for their sentient being
Needs met (taken care of properly)
Have an advocate for their rights

How would you feel if you were
Locked in a garage by yourself for most of the day or night?
Forced to stay in your yard alone day after day?
Able to listen to voices and activity all around you, yet isolated from everything that is happening?
Most likely you would feel lonely, sad, and frustrated.
Welcome to the life of the BACKYARD DOG!!
Dogs originated from wild dogs or wolves, both of which are social, family-pack animals. Is it any wonder, then, that the backyard dog howls, barks and whines when forced to live all alone?
Make your dog part of your "Family Pack".
Responsible pet ownership includes companionship

How to live "Happily Ever After" with your dog
Obedience train your dog.
An untrained dog can be a neighborhood pest
Obedience training can save your dogās life in a dangerous situation
A well-trained dog is a joy to have as part of the family
Have your dog spayed or neutered.
Neutering reduces the urge to roam and fight, discourages annoying habits like dogs mounting peopleās legs, prevents uterine and prostate cancer, and makes happier, healthier companions who live longer.
Play with your dog.
Behavior problems such as chewing usually happen when a dog is bored
Dogs need daily exercise
Dogs are pack animals and need to be part of your "family"
Pet your dog.
Stroking your dog lowers your blood pressure and heart rate
Dogs are social creatures who respond to love with love
Groom your dog.
Brush and comb your dog regularly, check ears for infection and trim toe nails
A healthy, well-groomed dog should have a shiny coat
The National Association for the Advancement of Humane Education
A Division of the Humane Society of the United States
Headquarters: The Norma Terris Humane Education Center
East Haddam, Connecticut 06423

You must provide nutritional food, water, shelter and proper medical attention for your animal(s).
All dogs over four months old must have a current license and be vaccinated against rabies.
If you must confine your animal to a lead, it must be confined so it will not become tangled with any object or cause a dangerous situation for the animal. In addition, the lead must be long enough to provide room for exercise. The lead must allow the animal to reach shelter, food, and water. Food and water must be in containers which cannot be tipped over.
Do not confine your animal(s) inside an unattended vehicle without good ventilation or on days when the animal(s) will be too hot or too cold. Hot and cold weather can be harmful to animals left unattended in vehicles. The temperature in a car can reach 102 degrees in just ten minutes.
Animals carried in a car or truck must be safely enclosed within the vehicle or protected by a secured cage or harness to prevent the animal from falling, jumping or being thrown from the car or truck.
If you injure an animal with your vehicle, you are required to stop. You are also required to notify law enforcement authorities and attempt to contact the owner of the animal.
Developed by Contra Costa Humane Society


Although we approach humane education differently, we all have a common concern-to arouse the sensitivity and address the concerns of children.
As educators we are all diverse and the kids are very diverse. There is no average second grade class. In San Francisco 79% of the school population is non-white and 34% are limited English speaking. We need to be personal and relevant to each group realizing that everyone doesn't feel the same as us about animals. Socioeconomic status does not have a major impact on the way kids relate to animals. Students from the most well-endowed, affluent districts are not necessarily more aware or compassionate.
Entering a school with an animal is a leveling experience. It gets attention and breaks up the institutional setting. How we treat the kids is a key issue. Explaining to a group of uninformed, excited kids that we will leave if the animal doesn't enjoy his visit enables them to relate to animals as smaller than them, incarcerated and vulnerable. They equate their status to the animal's and while they may not be able to articulate it they realize that as a teacher, I have authority over them.
We could potentially exploit children. It would be easy to impose our values and concerns but if we try, we'll lose them. We need to remember what it's like to be a kid.
Art work submitted for the annual SF/SPCA poster contest often expresses the deep emotional reactions of the kids-they deserve a second look. Kids are already inherently aware and concerned. They have the potential to grow up differently with sensitivity and a chance to develop their curiosity and thought processes.
There is a parallel between kids and animals as small, vulnerable creatures without a lot of voice or status in society. The more we understand kids, the better we will be equipped to do this work.
It's shocking that animal cruelty laws preceded legislation preventing child abuse. The child rights movement began with the American SPCA in 1850 when a battered child was protected by laws stating that "This child is an animal too." In 1988, although the media has increased awareness of the plight of children, child welfare continues to be a fragmented and poorly funded movement.
Kids understand their status on a fundamental level. They feel safe around animals and safer with an adult who is with an animal. We need to respect this trust and be sensitive to the needs of our audience. A judgmental attitude can make children feel guilty in situations where they are powerless to alter things

Printable pages can be emailed at no charge by request.

For the message that Humane Education brings to the students, see www.21stcenturycares.org/paradigm.htm

For the importance of humane education, see what Dr. Jeanette Shutay, Ph.d. writes. www.21stcenturycares.org/importance.htm