by Mariana Burgos
The teaching of the concept of animal welfare or the dynamic integration of it in various curricula and methodologies in the academe is what we call ‘humane education’.
In our society today, violence and anarchy are escalating their dominance by the day, in our culture. This is why it is ever more important to integrate ‘humane education’ into our current education system.
Humane education has the potential to contribute significantly to the development of a compassionate and caring society in which we, each other, our fellow creatures, and the environment are treated with respect.
It aims to address the underlying causes of human cruelty and animal mistreatment. Animals are now widely recognized as sentient beings capable of experiencing “feelings,” according to scientific data. They can both appreciate life’s simple pleasures and suffer emotionally (as well as physically) as a result of harsh or inhumane treatment, deprivation, and incarceration. This new understanding of animal consciousness has enormous ramifications for how we treat animals, the policies and regulations we enact, and how we educate our children.
Humane education is the foundation of a just and ethical society. It guides students toward a great life path based on strong moral ideals.
With this type of education, younger children are introduced to elementary animal issues and the examination of animal sentience and needs in a well-structured humane education program. Then, over time, learners begin to investigate a wide range of ethical issues (animal, human, and environmental) utilizing resources and lesson plans meant to encourage creativity and critical thinking, as well as to assist each individual in accessing their own internal “moral compass.”
Moreover, it has the ability to promote the development of empathy and compassion. Empathy is thought to be the missing link in today’s culture, and the root of harsh, neglectful, and abusive behaviour.
The link between animal mistreatment and human abuse has been proven by psychologists, sociologists, and criminologists. The first strike – a person’s first act of violence – is frequently directed at an animal, according to studies conducted over the previous 40 years, and should be viewed as a warning sign for other family members. (The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), First Strike Campaign, 2003 Report of Animal Cruelty Cases)
Animal maltreatment is frequently the first step down the slippery slope of desensitization, a route that leads to a lack of empathy and violence.
Animals are frequently the first victims, and what might be perceived as a red flag or warning marker is easily downplayed by parents and teachers as “oh well, boys will be boys” or “it’s only a bug, what’s the big deal?”
Children who grow up in violent homes are more likely to become abusers as adults. “Habituation” sets in swiftly once children have grown desensitized. Abuse has become a typical part of a child’s existence and is seen as normal because of their habit of neglect and harshness. Desensitization, moreover, works against the important development of empathy in early life. Dehumanization results from a lack of empathy because it slows down children’s emotional development, preventing them from reaching their full potential as emotionally mature individuals.
Teachers may assist their children to carry home a sense of empathy – not just for animals, but also for their friends and family – and a sense of duty to their community by associating bullying and other antisocial actions with animal maltreatment.
To end the cycle of abuse, humane education is required to establish an enlightened society with empathy and respect for life. The goal is to foster a caring culture. And working to avoid criminality and antisocial conduct, which can have a significant societal cost in terms of reduced “quality of life” and financial costs paid through criminal damage, law enforcement system upkeep, court costs, prison costs, and juvenile work, is also a wise investment.
Traditional education entails the transfer of knowledge in order to pass exams and, in certain cases, get employment. This is notably missing in terms of human development. In many “developing” countries just like our own, education is still taught by rote, with no emphasis on developing insights, intelligence, or morals.
Children who are taught to treat animals with justice, kindness, and mercy become more just, kind, and attentive in their interpersonal relationships. Character education along these lines in teenagers will produce citizens with larger sympathies, who are more humanitarian, law-abiding, and valuable in every way. Humane education is the teaching of concepts of justice, kindness, and humanity toward all life in national schools and institutions. The formation of an animal-friendly mindset is only the beginning of a greater humanity that encompasses people of all races and climates. A generation of people who have been taught these ideas will address international problems as neighbours rather than enemies.
As animal rights and welfare activists, we firmly support an educational approach to the establishment of peaceful societies, addressing the fundamental causes of the problem to achieve long-term change. Because it lowers violence and improves moral character, humane education should be a mandatory aspect of our students’ education. It will also, definitely, help our society become more stable, loving, and peaceful.
About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist. She is a solo parent for 14 years now because she is wife to a desaparacido. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.
This article also appears in the Manila Standard
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