“The boys may throw stones at the frogs in jest, but the frogs die in earnest.”
Voice For The Animals Foundation’s Humane Education Program teaches empathy, compassion and non-violence to students in schools in the Los Angeles area.
The goal of our Humane Education Program is to sensitize young people to animal issues and to nurture their potential for compassion towards those sentient beings who are considered “subhuman.” Although the educational system offers humane education courses at the elementary level, very few opportunities for humane education exist at the secondary level. Since adolescence is the time when young people stop seeing themselves as “children” and begin to see themselves as “adults,” it is imperative that, during this developmental period, they do not begin to associate the animal-abusive aspects of adult culture with “growing up”.
What is Humane Education?
- Humane education covers a variety of topics, ranging from human interaction with wildlife, mankind's treatment of domestic animals, and animals' place in the overall environment. Through the implementation of humane education courses, we hope to disrupt the cycle of animal and human abuse by decreasing a child's potential to be abusive or neglectful toward animals and, therein, promoting pro-social behavior toward humans.
- Humane education programs seek to prevent violence by teaching empathy, compassion, and respect for all living beings and helping children develop into caring, responsible citizens.
Why is Humane Education Important?
- Numerous academic studies have established a correlation between animal cruelty during childhood and interpersonal violence in adulthood.
- A 2001-2004 study by the Chicago Police Department "revealed a startling propensity for offenders charged with crimes against animals to commit other violent offenses toward human victims." The results of the study revealed that 65% of the people arrested for animal crimes had also been arrested for battery against another person.
- A separate study focused on 36 convicted murderers. Of the 36 convicted multiple murderers questioned for the study, 46% admitted committing acts of animal torture as adolescents.
- Researchers have found that between 71% and 83% of women staying in domestic violence shelters reported that their abusers also harmed or killed the family pet.
- Children's lack of exposure to information regarding the role animals have in the economy of nature and in people's lives contributes to an increase in the number of wild and domestic animals that are subject to cruelty, abandonment, high animal shelter euthanasia rates, and, in extreme circumstances, extinction.
Photos from Past Humane Education Presentations
"The Truth About Pet Homelessness"
"Orangutans vs. The Palm Oil Industry"
An interview with rescuer Peter Wallerstein
Testimonials from New Roads middle school students attending the animal rights course.
The above link is taken from a speech in 1884 to a national meeting of state school superintendents by George Angell, founder of the Massachusetts SPCA
Interview given by Evris Tsakirides to Athanasios Papatzimas, a Greek magazine in July 2008. Evris was a teacher at Crossroads High School and he founded HARP: Human Animal Relation Project
The puppeteers are: Minoo Rahbar, Jim Peace, and the actor is JR Nutt. The puppet show is the story of Robert (JR Nutt) who visits his friend Heather (puppeteer Minoo Rahbar) to tell her that he has a new doggie named Sofie. Heather finds out that Robert's parents won't let the dog inside the house. As the show unfolds, Sofie and Heather and Midnight (a cat puppet worked by Jim Peace) explain to Robert all the things one must do to properly take care of cats and dogs.
In Their Own Words: Humane Education Presentation Testimonials
“I want to express my deep gratitude for continuing to bring humane education to young people via your work as Executive Director of Voice For The Animals. As you recall, when I started New Roads in 1995, I came to you right away, hoping you would agree to grow and extend the humane education work that you and I started years prior.
Since its inception in 1995, New Roads has been an effort to create an independent school with genuine diversity – ethnic, racial, cultural and socio-economic diversity. The challenge for us was to find ways to use those things that usually alienate one person from another, one community from another, as a vehicle to bring people together. I knew from our work teaching Animal Rights and Ethics at Crossroads School, and from the volumes of research that has been done on the matter, that humane education – and quite specifically awareness of animal issues and animal rights, that our young school would be served by your efforts.
As everyone sees when they are here, our students display a level of tolerance, compassion, concern for others, and a profound sense of justice, that is difficult to find elsewhere. Would that be the case were it not for our efforts in humane education? Perhaps. But it is quite clear to me that all of the years of teaching humane education – and here I quite specifically mean animal rights and animal issues – has been a powerful tool and New Roads.
Thus I circle back to where I began. Thank you, Melya. It was such a treat to know that you continue to work with young people. And it is clear that you have not lost your touch. Our students were energized and deeply affected by VFTA’s presentations; they continue to work with young people. I hope you will continue this excellent work for years to come, and I welcome to opportunity to sing your praises to those who might be considering humane education in their own communities.”
- David Bryan
President and Head of School, New Roads
“I am writing to express my support for the Violence Prevention Through Humane Education program as developed by Voice For The Animals. This program is an innovative new tool for teaching compassion and helping our youth cope with the stresses of modern urban life. As chair of the City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development, I am constantly looking for ideas that can make the City’s efforts more comprehensive and effective. Having observed a lesson, I know that is program fits into the solution.
In addition to helping us expand the number of homes for animals and compat animal cruelty, I believe this program can make a positive contribution to our larger oeffort to fight juvenile crime and gang violence. It has been shown time and time again that animal abuse is a precursor to crimes against humans. Too many of our youth are exposed to animal abuse at an early age and never come to understand that it is wrong. This program will change that.
I am excited to see this program become a reality in Los Angeles. It is an exemplary model of the creative and ctitical ways we need to enrich the lives of youth in our City.”
- Tony Cardenas
Los Angeles City Councilman, 6th District
“I am writing to express my support for the Violence Prevention Through Humane Education program that your organization, Voice For The Animals, has developed. The program is an innovative new tool for teaching compassion and helping our youth cope with the stresses of modern urban life.
I applaud the curriculum of the program, which has been developed in conjunction with several experts including psychologist Dr. Lorin Linder. It is very important to teach schoolchildren about animals, stressing compassion and humane values, along with the practical benefits of responsible pet ownership.
Mahatma Gandhi once said that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” It has been shown time and time again that animal abuse is a precursor to crimes against humans. Too many of our youth are exposed to animal abuse at an early age and never come to understand that it is wrong. This program will change that.
It is vital for these kinds of programs to find the funding they so richly deserve. It is vital that public and private entities come together to form partnerships to help push forward the importance of animal cruelty.”
- Lloyd E. Levine
Assemblyman, 40th District
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HAVING A VFTA HUMANE EDUCATION PRESENTATION