One Woman’s Campaign to Get Animal Welfare Taught In Schools
Louise Craggs, a veterinary practice manager, recently contacted me to help her get animal welfare taught in schools. She’s launched a petition to persuade the Government to put animal welfare onto the national curriculum, having spent a number of years seeing first-hand how poorly understood it can be amongst children and adults alike. In an interview for the Northern Echo, Louise explains why she considers her campaign to be an essential step in reducing cruelty and neglect of animals in future,
I work in the veterinary environment and have met children who think that animals feel no pain.
Children who, for example, hate cats or certain other species to the point that they actually think it’s okay to hurt them.
Who has taught the children this – their parents? Sadly a lot of adults seem to get great pleasure out of harming and even killing animals, their children see this and think that this is acceptable.
Louise started the petition after a friend asked her to do something about all the endless images of cruelty circulating online. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and wanted to be the first to sign it, sadly he died a month ago, but not before seeing growing support for Louise’s campaign to get animal welfare taught in schools. Louise told me,
I must admit when I set out I didnt realise how difficult it would be. It has kind of taken over my life. I’m not a campaigner and have never been involved in anything like this before.
Since writing and publishing ‘Saving Maya’ which is aimed at young readers and getting out meeting youngsters who are keen to know more about animal welfare, I can see the vital role that educating at a young age plays in improving things for animals. Where my focus is on preventing the cruelty in the puppy industry, the whole spectrum of animal welfare should be something children grow up knowing about, and engaging with. While it’s good to think it should happen in the home, the reality is, for many children it doesn’t. Society as a whole must take responsibility for educating on animal welfare and placing it on the curriculum makes perfect sense to me.
Earlier this year, New Zealand’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) launched a national programme in schools, aiming to teach children how to treat animals. A significant part of the initiative is about children developing empathy towards animals. The national launch followed a successful pilot programme, the results of which showed a strong shift in students’ knowledge, understanding and attitudes about animal welfare. Read more here.
If like me, you consider getting animal welfare taught in schools, and encouraging future generations to care about animals is of real importance, please sign the petition. And share it to your friends, family and contacts and ask them to do the same. Louise needs a lot of help, from a lot of people to reach the 100,000 signatures she needs to deliver the petition to the Government.