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Animal welfare education in action

Animals can experience pleasure, pain and suffering. When humans interact with animals we have a responsibility and, more and more, a legal duty to safeguard their welfare.

These messages are at the heart of WSPA’s educational aims – to develop compassion, a sense of justice and of respect for animals and people. Education also reveals how animal welfare is crucial to people and the environment. Our aims are in line with the goals of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD), which runs until 2015.

WSPA’s worldwide animal welfare education team works on programs designed for teachers, students and professionals. Ultimately, our message of compassion reaches many thousands of children and adults.

Our educational programs are run in Central and South America, Africa and Asia.

1. First Concepts in Animal Welfare

Animal welfare education in action
This introductory-level education program looks at animals, people and the environment. It includes:
  • providing training, support and materials for teachers working with 5–16-year olds in Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Thailand, India and Vietnam

  • integrating animal welfare education into school curricula, by working with governments, organizing teacher training and providing materials

  • developing educational resources and activities for other WSPA work areas, including materials for adults with lower literacy levels or who are being taught the basic needs of animals in their care.

Our training for teachers working with 5–16 year olds (previously known as International Animal Welfare Education) has been endorsed by the UNESCO regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean in both Chile and Peru, as well as by the International Association of Human–Animal Interaction Organizations (IAHAIO).

To find out more about our international animal welfare education work visit our website for educators or download our guide to teaching >>

2. Advanced Concepts in Animal Welfare

This area of our work is home to all our educational activity on more complex concepts of animal welfare. It has two main programs:

  • Tertiary animal welfare education: this program targets university veterinary faculties, and agriculture and livestock training institutes worldwide. Vets play a major role in the improving of animal welfare, and their actions influence others.

  • The CD ROM syllabus was developed with the University of Bristol’s School of Clinical Veterinary Science. It has been requested by over 850 universities worldwide. Access the modules online >>

  • Agricultural vocational training: we support training in Africa (in Uganda and Tanzania) that integrates an animal welfare perspective.

We also advise colleagues across WSPA’s work areas on how to ensure their programs incorporate sound educational aspects, for both professionals and wider audiences. For example, we have been working with our Disaster Management (DM) team to help develop an educational resource as part of their Veterinary Emergency Response Unit (VERU) course, advising them on to how to make the course more effective as a teaching tool.

To find out more about any aspect of WSPA’s education work, contact:
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