Texans and their families love their animals! In 2018, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimated that 58% of Texans own pets. In fact, puppies were the number one item being sold throughout Texas during the height of the pandemic.
But despite millions of children living with and caring for animals in their households, it’s hard to believe that Texas does not require any type of humane curriculum in the classroom. Currently, thirteen states mandate some sort of curriculum surrounding the humane treatment of animals. California requires a curriculum dedicated to promoting kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures. In Florida, members of the public schools’ instructional staff are required to teach empathy to animals, and Pennsylvania requires instruction in humane education to be given to all pupils up to and including the fourth grade (up to half an hour each week) during the entire school term.
We expect children and animals to live together, yet we offer children no understanding of animal behavior or even basic pet care. We get mad when children treat animals poorly by pulling their tails, teasing them, or even hitting them, but we don’t teach them why this behavior is wrong.
The purpose of the Texas Humane Network’s Rock the Vote Fundraiser is to fund the creation of an elementary-school based humane curriculum and implement it in Texas public schools and beyond.
A humane curriculum would include a basic understanding of animal behavior, pet care, and empathy towards animals. Humane education is character education that fosters compassion, tolerance, and empathy for others, including non-human animals, and respect and responsibility. A humane education curriculum is not about preaching. Instead, students are encouraged to problem-solve. When students learn about the impact humans have on animals, they frequently want to use their voices to work toward a more just and fair world for all of its inhabitants.
Educators are always looking for new ways to motivate students and invigorate their teaching. Those teachers who integrate humane education (including teaching about kindness to animals) say students light up when discussing animals and their pets. It lowers the students’ stress levels and allows students to open up, creating a warmer and friendlier environment in the classroom for all learners.
Currently, a variety of Texas shelters and rescues offer a kindness curriculum that can be brought to a classroom. But it is few and far between. And the teachers seeking this curriculum already implement a kindness teaching philosophy. Imagine what a kinder place Texas would become if the curriculum were required throughout all Texas public schools? We could effectuate change for millions of Texans for generations to come.
We hope you will support our mission and sponsor Texas Humane Network’s Rock the Vote Fundraiser so that we can invest in a more humane future by educating all children to promote the humane treatment of animals.