Last weekend’s Courier-Mail reported “a plan to teach animal ethics in schools which aims to reduce the number of shocking cruelty cases being reported across the state.”
It is being promoted by Dr Gail Tulloch from Griffith University.
“The ethical argument is that it’s important to extend the circle of compassion out, not just to your immediate family but to your community and your country and then humanity and then to animals.”
Some psychologists report a clear link between cruelty to non-human animals and cruelty and violence towards human beings, so there is a self-interest angle in trying to improve our compassion and concern for animals.
Dr Tulloch is among a number of speakers at a forum being held this Friday and Saturday in Brisbane. In partnership with the international animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming, Griffith University’s Centre for Public Culture and Ideas is hosting a symposium – Humane Education: A compassionate ethic for animals this Friday 5 and Saturday 6 October out at Griffith University’s Nathan Campus.
The symposium aims to build a greater awareness of the ethical treatment of animals and how that can be integrated into our education systems. The two day symposium will feature education professionals, psychologists, legal professionals, ethicists, social scientists and animal welfare representatives. I will be speaking on Saturday morning addressing the political context of the issue.
The forum will bring together this wide range of interested people to explore perspectives of humane education across the various education sectors and hopes to promote an interest in the concept and apply it widely as part of the framework of Values Education.
Professor Terry Lovat – Professor of Education, Pro Vice Chancellor (Education and Arts) the University of Newcastle (NSW), and an international leader in Values Education will deliver the key note address on during Friday’s session 2.
The event will be held in the Eco Centre of Brisbane’s Griffith University, Nathan Campus. Full details of the event and the most up to date program can be found by clicking here.
There is a fair likelihood that any effort to talk in schools about teaching animal ethics or even more general material encouraging better treatment of animals is likely to meet opposition from farmer groups. When the animal protection group Voiceless started setting up Animal Clubs in schools, they were attacked by the National Farmers Federation as “infringing the rights of children to an education free of hidden agendas and ideological dogma”. The NFF even went so far as to write to every state Education Minister trying to stop the clubs being set up, and expressed concern about an “apparent insidious agenda of convincing children to become vegetarians.” I would have thought farmers involved in horticulture would be quite happy if there were a larger number of vegetarians.
This sort of comment also shows why the simple fact that food from livestock is a huge contributor to greenhouse emissions (not to mention one of the highest consumers of water) doesn’t rate a mention in all of the federal government’s how to be ‘climate clever’ propaganda.