Humane education examines the challenges facing our planet, from human oppression and animal exploitation to materialism and ecological degradation. It explores how we can live with compassion and respect for everyone: not just our friends and neighbors, but all people; not just our own dogs and cats, but all animals; not just our own homes, but also the earth itself (www.humaneeducation.org).
Humane education helps raise a generation that cares, that realizes that what we do matters, not just to ourselves but also to everyone our lives touch; a generation that understands the connections between both our personal and cultural choices and the fate of other people, other species, and the Earth, and takes responsibility for creating a better world. Humane education achieves these goals by inspiring people to identify the values that will guide them through life and by teaching them the process of embodying these values in the face of complex problems and needs (www.humaneeducation.org)
The Toronto Vegetarian Association (TVA) wants to help both teachers and students incorporate humane education into their lives by providing ideas, resources and links below.
Are you a caring teacher who wishes to bring compassion to your classroom? Farm Sanctuary, a non-profit organization, offers free educational resources to teachers, including excellent lesson plans for elementary, intermediate and secondary school students. Click here to be taken to Farm Sanctuary’s free Cultivating Compassion lesson plans.
The Toronto Vegetarian Association’s drop in Resource Centre also has a “for teachers” section in our lending library. You can take out lesson plans from various organizations as well as DVDs or VHS videos to show in your classroom. Click here to read more about our Resource Centre location and hours.
These sanctuaries selflessly rescue and take care of farm animals. Some of them offer opportunities to organize work/volunteer days with your students, and some like Wishing Well, even have March break camps for children!
The five sanctuaries include:
If you and your students are interested in helping these sanctuaries and the animals that call them home, donations made to TVA in support of this campaign are always welcome. There may also be an opportunity for classes to make school trips to visit these sanctuaries, do some hands-on work and get to meet all of the rescued animals. Stay tuned to TVA’s website for information on sanctuary open houses and the opportunity to book a school trip.
Do you have students in your school who are passionate about animals and/or vegetarianism? Why not encourage them to form a club? Forming an animal welfare or vegetarian club in your school would allow students with similar interests to come together in a social and educational setting where they can get to know one another, share ideas, work on outreach projects and have fun! For a great link on starting a club in your school, click here for grades K-6, and click here for grades 7-12 .
TVA’s Food for Thought Team coordinates talks for students at post-secondary campuses and high schools. If you are interested in having an in-school presentation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an educator and have suggestions, ideas or questions about humane education and/or this site, please email email@example.com.
We are happy that you are thinking about the world around you! Take action! By learning more, spreading the word to friends and incorporating Humane Education into your school work, you are making a difference!
Whether you’re a high school, middle school, or elementary school student, TVA is here to help you. Your journey into Humane Education can include learning more about:
Pet Animals: learn to be a responsible pet parent, adopt — don’t buy pets, stop pet overpopulation with spaying and neutering pets, investigate your city’s anti-cruelty laws. Contact Animal Services for in-school dog bite prevention workshops, hold a fundraiser for your local animal shelter, raise money to “sponsor” a pet at a local animal shelter, care for pets in the shelter by making toys or baking dog cookies, do a pet food drive for homeless pets, or arrange a visit to your local shelter.
Entertainment Animals: learn about the life of circus, rodeo and racetrack animals, find out what life’s like for a zoo animal, petition against dog fighting. Talk to Zoocheck Canada about in-school presentations, arrange to visit sanctuaries rather than zoos or aquariums for class trips.
Clothing Animals: explore how wool, down, leather and fur are made. Search for and compile a list of all the non-animal-based clothing alternatives and where to shop for them in your area.
Food Animals: watch the videos “Meet your Meat”, “Food, Inc” and “Earthlings”; find out about the factory operations that produce 99% of all animal meat that people eat: chickens and eggs, cows and baby cows (veal), pigs, sheep and lambs, goats, rabbits, ducks and even horses. Contact TVA for in-school presentations, visit farm animal sanctuaries, “sponsor” a farm animal at a local sanctuary, and try a vegan or vegetarian diet by introducing a meatless meal or a meat-free challenge to your class or school.
Lab Animals: investigate how animals are experimented on, and buy cruelty-free cosmetics, cleaners, toothpaste, and even toys. Find out which companies test on animals, and find out which companies don’t, compile a cruelty-free shopping list in your area for your school.
Wild Animals: explore how your city deals with local wildlife, how development affects wildlife, how you can care for birds and other creatures in your backyard or park/pond, learn what’s happening to the Earth’s oceans due to lobster, crab, shrimp and fish consumption, and learn about the efforts underway to protect sea mammals such as whales and seals. Check out online videos of wild animal protection and conservation, sponsor a wild animal, or do a school fundraiser for a group that protects wild animals.
Vegetarianism and the Planet: find out how eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, or even consuming less meat can make a huge impact on global warming, and how eating vegetarian helps prevent people from starving in other areas of the world.
Helping your Local Environment: explore local parks and forests, and learn about the animals, such as bats, snakes, and insects. Become a better recycler and composter, and learn how your city deals with its garbage. Protect local endangered plants and animals. Organize planting at your school, or organize a garbage pick-up day at your local park.
Helping Globally: learn about how global warming affects others around the world. Learn more about reducing pollution, and about protecting endangered animals and plants of the world.
Children in Sweatshops: gain knowledge about slavery or the working conditions of children who are forced to work. Find ethically-produced products and encourage family and friends to buy them!
Rights of Others: examine how the rights of various cultures, religions, gay and lesbian people, women and minorities have changed in your area historically.
Vegetarian Eating: Investigate how vegetarians and vegans have decreased risk of diseases such as heart disease, cancer and how they live longer. Take the Veggie Challenge with the TVA for a fun, healthy change to your diet!
Being Active: Take up a new activity, join a new social group, and participate in many of the free activities that communities offer.
Being Social: Volunteer to help others, join an online discussion group about an issue that interests you, start up a Humane Education group at school…these are all great ways to get involved!