“Animal protection safeguards the moral status of humans and the degeneration of human values.” – Constitutional Court Judge Sisi Khampepe, on behalf of a full bench of Constitutional Court judges, in a judgment handed down in December 2016.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF OUR SCHOOLS PROGRAMME:
Our aim is to nurture and develop the core values of empathy, ethics and integrity through education and awareness programmes from early childhood right the way up to Grade 12, creating an understanding that how we treat those at our mercy is a direct reflection of our human dignity and indeed, of our humanity itself.
Our learning programmes are based on the Five Freedoms for Animals, a set of minimum animal welfare standards which are endorsed by the World Organisation for Animal Health, the United Nations and many governments around the world, including the South African Department of Agriculture.
The Five Freedoms for Animals are:
• Freedom from Hunger and Thirst
• Freedom from Discomfort
• Freedom from Pain, Injury and Disease
• Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour (i.e. not to be caged)
• Freedom from Fear and Distress
See an excerpt of a Grade 3 class enjoying a puppet presentation of the Five Freedoms for Animals
Our Teacher Guides (with a focus on Animal Welfare) are curriculum-aligned and available in Foundation Phase, Intermediate Phase, Senior Phase and FET.
In addition, the Teacher Guides as well as 35 of our resources (readers and DVDs) are approved by the Department of Education (Libraries).
To see more items for teachers and learners, look in the shop here.
The human-animal bond
Dr Magdie van Heerden is a social worker with a difference! She specializes in the human-animal bond and is convinced that in today’s age of technology, animals have a greater role to play than ever before in the well-being of people.
Technology, says Magdie, has a real down-side. “It is ironic that while people around the world have never been more connected through social media, they have also never felt more isolated and disconnected from each other. If you think about it, one little emoji with hands and a smiling face often replaces our very deep need for the real thing – the physical contact of a big hug.”
Dr van Heerden suggests that the erosion of empathy in society is a major factor in the growing epidemic of anxiety and depression.
“Humans have a deep-rooted need to care, and to be cared for, and this is why the nurturing and development of empathy should be a focal point in education,” she says.
“Nurturing and developing empathy starts with the teddy bear in the cot and with the companion animals in our homes. Most children relate easily to companion animals because they are not judgmental and if treated well, they are positive role-models for companionship, play, laughter, love, and having fun.
“Child welfare and animal welfare are intertwined and we cannot split the one from the other if we want to heal our communities and strive towards emotional health.”