School children across Kerala will soon receive a daily lesson to ensure a future in which animals, the environment they live in and human beings are treated respectfully.
The state project director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has issued a circular to district project officers, directing them to include animal rights group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India’s humane-education programme, ‘Compassionate Citizen’, as part of the teacher-training module under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
In a release, PETA said it has distributed the programme to all Kerala government schools for use with children aged eight to twelve years. ‘Compassionate Citizen’ is PETA India’s version of the internationally recognised PETA US’ humane-education programme, ‘Share the World’, which is designed to help students better understand and appreciate animals.
According to PTI, The programme has been endorsed by the Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory body operating under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. States and union territories endorsing the programme include Chandigarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.
“It’s said that when you teach a child to be kind to a mouse, you do as much for the child as you do for the mouse”, says PETA India senior education coordinator, Puja Mahajan. “Respect and compassion are vital to reduce violence in society at large,” Mahajan adds.
PETA said the programme consists of a teacher’s guide, reproducible activity sheets, a reading unit with true animal stories and a 28-minute video. “It can easily be included in school curricula and all subjects, including languages, science, social studies, environmental science and values education. It’s also great to use in eco and animal rights clubs,” it said.
Noting that most children naturally feel concern and affection for animals, but learn cruelty from society and often lose sight of their compassion, PETA said a lack of respect for other species can translate into insensitivity and cruelty towards fellow humans too.
“It is well documented by psychologists, sociologists and law-enforcement officials that violence against animals by children is often an early warning sign of future acts of violence towards humans. Humane education can help ensure a future in which animals, the environment they live in and humans are treated respectfully,” said PETA.
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