The Importance of Animal Welfare Education
Updated: Sep 12, 2020
Can you imagine a world without animals? Companion animals share our lives and our homes, and our daily lives are filled with animals in one way or another—whether we’re engaging with the neighborhood dog, spotting a hawk in the wild, learning about penguins at the zoo, or working on the farm. Our affinity for animals is undeniable. Without them, we’d be bereft of a lot of essential human experiences.
In recent years, raising awareness about animal welfare is an important component of social change movements sweeping across our international landscape. And it continues to be important in shaping our understanding of ethical behavior towards animals, regardless of where the opportunity to engage with them crops up.
At BCARL, we believe animal welfare education is a vital component to helping individuals develop and nurture respect, kindness, empathy, and positive attitudes towards both animals and people.
We love what we do. We feel this work is vital work within the Ohio Valley and for humanity at large. And, while we wish our job wasn't necessary, we're committed to being here for the vulnerable and at risk animals in our community for as long as they need a safe place to heal.
Why Humane Education?
Why do we believe humane education is so important? We believe that teaching animal welfare education creates a sense of compassion, justice, and a respect for the value of all living things.
We believe that humane education helps to lesson instances of animal suffering and gives animals the best chance at a happy, healthy life. Even more, it teaches people how to accept and fulfill their responsibilities to not only companion animals, but all forms of life.
From our ancient ancestors’ first attempts at training and breeding wolves, to our ability to snuggle up to our lap dog after a long day, the status of companion animals as important members of the family has increased significantly over time. Today our society clearly recognizes this human–animal bond. And as our understanding of animals’ cognitive and emotional capacities improve, so should the way we engage with and relate to the animals in our lives.
Teach Them When They’re Young
Children have a natural fondness for animals, and we believe that harnessing such natural empathy and love for animals from a young age is a brilliant way to improve not only animal welfare, but overall emotional health in children.
In fact, studies suggest that educational lessons with animal-related content are more likely to capture a student’s attention than other types of programs. And In 1990, Daniel Goleman wrote an article in the New York Times regarding a pet ownership study at Oregon University that found pet ownership “made children more cooperative and sharing.”
Dogs, cats, and other companion animals are a major part of modern living. Most children have at least one animal in their homes or regularly visit homes that do. And, when children learn about animal care in a safe and responsible way, they are more likely to enjoy healthy, loving relationships with animals throughout their lives.
Responsible pet care also aids in the development of a child’s healthy self-esteem and maturity. Teaching children routine pet care and encouraging gentle play, bonding, and pet responsibility teaches children compassion, and caring for a pet instills respect for life and an awareness of the needs of others. Such life lessons provide children an understanding of how their behavior can affect others. In turn, ethically aware children and young adults are then empowered to take action as they mature to ensure a sustainable, compassionate, and just world for future generations.
We believe that learning about empathy, relationships, and nature are just some of the benefits children receive by caring for animals. When we create a better generation of people, we will create better lives for humans and animals alike now and in the future.
But be a Lifelong Learner
Animal welfare education promotes attitudes and values that seek to benefit the lives of animals through human interaction. It's the building block of a humane and ethically responsible society.
Adults that take a sincere interest in humane education can play an important role in creating a compassionate and caring society. Seeking to live our lives in service of others and to treat both human and animal as humanely as possible works at the root causes of cruelty and abuse towards all forms of life, animal and human alike. Humane education sets learners upon a valuable life path rooted in firm moral values.
At BCARL, we believe that every animal deserves an advocate when they're at their most vulnerable, and that animal care and education is a key component to helping enrich the lives of animals everywhere. We're proud to be a part of this mission, and we’d love for you to take on that mantle as well. Are you interested in volunteering or becoming an animal foster? Check out our Get Involved page to find out how you can become part of the movement!
“The animal is a conduit for learning to be human: some propose that it is only through the animal that we recognize our humanity.” -Jill Bone