The roots of humane education in the late 19th and early 20th centuries lie with the founders of humane societies and child protection organizations. Recognizing that those without a voice or power needed compassionate allies to advocate on their behalf, humane education pioneers taught kindness not only toward children but also toward animals.
While appreciation for animals and concern about animal cruelty have increased over the decades, the extent of animal abuse has not abated. In fact, despite new laws to protect animals, in relation to some industries like meat, dairy, and egg production, animal suffering has worsened due to a growing global population desirous of animal-based foods and products.
The disconnection between what we profess as humane people and what we do as typical consumers is profound. We treat some animals – like those we call pets – with love and lavish attention on them. We treat other animals – like those we call dinner, fur, or game – cruelly and kill them for our pleasure.
Humane education asks us to consider our treatment of nonhuman animals as an integral component of creating a humane, sustainable, and just world. Covering issues such as animal rights, factory farming, animal experimentation, hunting, trapping, fishing, and animals used in entertainment, humane education invites people to think in solutionary ways to create a world in which we do not cause animals to suffer and die unnecessarily. This is all done through an intersectional approach that connects linked oppressions in areas of social justice, environmental sustainability, and animal protection.
To Advance Animal Protection, Humane Education Explores:
- Animal lives: their capacities, emotions, and experiences
- Our relationships with animals and the ways in which we cause them harm
- An intersectional understanding of our treatment of animals in the context of other forms of exploitation and oppression
- Initiatives to create foods, products, clothing, and medical treatments that do not harm animals
- Ways in which we can bring about a world that is safe for and respectful of nonhuman animals through education and action
Watch IHE president Zoe Weil’s TEDx talk, Extending our Circle of Compassion, to consider how we might think differently about animals and learn to treat all of them with respect and kindness.
Is it possible to create a future in which animals are treated with respect and compassion? Can we slow the species extinction rate? Can we replace systems that exploit and harm animals with new systems that help animals thrive? The answer is yes. This is what solutionaries do.
Solutionaries Create Humane, Just, and Peaceful Systems
Since one of the most powerful ways that we can create change is to become a solutionary, able to identify unjust, inhumane, and unsustainable systems and then create solutions that do the most good and least harm for people, animals, and the environment, our programs begin by ensuring you have the knowledge and skills to be a solutionary yourself. Then you’ll learn how to bring a solutionary lens to animal and intersectional issues that concern you so you can educate others. This kind of learning is positive, energizing, and hopeful.
Join us in building a humane world through humane education.