Name: Promoting Humane Education in the Classroom
Instruction in the humane treatment of animals
provides students with an important opportunity for learning about the natural
world and the responsibilities that people have towards animals, as well as promoting
kindness to other human beings.
Recently, there was national media coverage about an
Idaho public school teacher who fed a live puppy to a snapping turtle in front
of students after class hours. The teacher, who reportedly fed live animals to
his classroom snakes during classes, is currently under investigation by the
Idaho Attorney General for animal cruelty. The turtle was confiscated and
euthanized by Idaho Department of Agriculture because the teacher did not have
a permit to own the animal.
This is not an isolated incident concerning animal
cruelty in a school. Conduct such as feeding live animals to other animals and
cruelly confining and treating animals in the classroom must be stopped. The
introduction of legislation in your state will help ensure that cruel practices
like these do not occur in your local school, and will better educate students
about the need to treat all living creatures with respect and kindness.
Learn more about Laws
that Recognize the Importance of Humane Education
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Please Sponsor Legislation to Require Humane Education in the Classroom
Dear [Decision Maker],
I am writing to ask you to introduce legislation that will require schools to provide students with instruction on the humane treatment of animals. Humane education is important because students frequently encounter animals in their daily lives. A curriculum that encourages humane interactions between animals and humans teaches students to have empathy and compassion for all living beings, including other human beings.Recently, there has been national media coverage about an Idaho public school teacher who fed a live puppy to a snapping turtle in front of students. The teacher, who reportedly fed live animals to his classroom snakes during classes, exhibited cruel behavior towards a living creature, which should never be encouraged or condoned, particularly in a classroom setting in front of impressionable children. The teacher is currently under investigation by the Idaho Attorney General for animal cruelty. Please consider supporting legislation that will require incorporating humane education objectives in the curriculum, as well as setting standards for keeping animals in the classroom.For your convenience, I have included a model law that you can use in drafting humane education legislation:Humane Education and Humane Treatment of Animals in the ClassroomSec. 1. PurposeInstruction in the humane treatment of animals is an important part of a student's education. Students frequently encounter animals in their daily lives. A curriculum that incorporates humane interactions between animals and humans and encourages kindness to animals will teach students to have empathy and compassion for all living beings.Many teachers keep pets in their classroom in order to teach students about responsible handling of animals and animal behavior. While companion animals can provide children with an invaluable bond and companionship, animals in the classroom rarely receive adequate care or enrichment and are often subject to noisy classroom environments that cause stress and anxiety. There are plenty of other ways to provide children with an appreciation of and exposure to companion and wild animals without subjecting a "classroom pet" to inadequate living conditions.Sec. 2. Definitions(a) Animal: any nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian or fish(b) Animal cruelty: causing injury or harm to an animal, intentionally or through neglect(c) Aggravated animal cruelty: intentional killing or causing serious physical harm to an animal(d) Student: any public or nonpublic school pupil enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12(e) School: a public or nonpublic facility for students in kindergarten through grade 12Sec.3. Instruction in Humane Treatment of AnimalsEvery school within the state shall provide students with instruction, study and discussion of humane treatment and protection of companion, domestic and wild animals. Lessons in humane education may include:(a) A visit to a local animal shelter for lessons on pet adoption, humane handling and compassionate care of companion animals;(b) Noninvasive study of animals in their natural habitats including observation of insects on plants, birds in trees and aquatic animals in their natural environment; (c) Watching videos about different ecosystems including oceans, deserts and rainforests and the ways animals in those systems interact with each other; and(d) Visits from wildlife rehabilitation groups, zoo programs, and other similar professional organizations that have an educational component to their mission.Sec.4. Study and Care of Live Animals in the ClassroomAnimals rarely thrive in classroom settings where they may not receive adequate care or enrichment and are subject to noisy classroom settings.Any classroom within a school in the state which keeps a live animal for class study or interaction shall ensure that each animal is afforded the following: 1) appropriate living quarters; 2) sufficient space for the normal behavior and postural requirements of the species; 3) proper ventilation, lighting, and temperature control; 4) adequate food and clean drinking water; and 5) quarters which shall be cleaned on a regular basis and located in an area where undue stress and disturbance are minimized.Sec.5. Live Animal Feedings in the Classroom(a) No person shall feed a live animal to another live animal in the presence of students on school premises. This subsection shall apply to any feeding that is associated with or sponsored by the school system. (b) Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of aggravated animal cruelty.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]