ANIMALS IN SCIENCE
Ethical Arguments and Alternatives to Animal Experiments
May 2013 - After numerous setbacks and disruptions SAFE is delighted to announce the upcoming release of Issue Four of the Animals & Us textbook series: Animals in Science - Ethical Arguments and Alternatives to Animal experiments.
Science students are encouraged to consider a number of socio-scientific issues. These are issues that require students to engage in dialogue, discussion and debate - in particular regarding any complex ethical concerns the issue may raise.
The use of animals in experiments is a controversial issue and one that regularly comes under scrutiny.
Each year approximately 250,000 animals are used in experiments in New Zealand. Over 40,000 animals are used in experiments that involve severe or very severe suffering. Questions around the validity and morality of experimenting on animals are thought-provoking and challenging. Should we deliberately harm sentient animals? Is it right to inflict pain and suffering on other beings? Is it possible to seek valid results without harming animals?
Animals in Science provides opportunities for students to consider these questions and the ethical arguments against the use of animals in experiments.
Four units of study are included in the textbook and range from a Year 13 in-depth research project investigsting the validity of animal experiments, a Year 12 lesson on animal sentience and a Year 11 lesson in cognitive ethology. There is also a lesson that can be used in place of animal dissection for Years 9-10.
Animals in Science will be available in secondary schools from mid-June. Secondary school teachers can order a free personal copy from SAFE Education Officer Nichola Kriek:
firstname.lastname@example.org; ph: 03 379 9711; fax: 03 374 9290
KIDS PLAY WITH ANIMAL EMPATHY
Each year SAFE hosts an event called Why Animals Matter in the annual Christchurch City Council winter holiday programme called Kidsfest.
This year we decided to include some animal dress-up and role-play in the event. We wanted to educate the children about some topical animal issues in a fun and hands-on way.
The four main issues we wanted to educate the children about were battery hen cages, sow stalls, circus animals and laboratory animals. What better way to get children to empathise than to put them metaphorically into the shoes of the animals themselves?
With 20 children enrolled we divided them into four groups of five and gave them animal costumes to don. We had five hens, five pigs, five mice and rabbits and five bears, lions and an elephant!
Each of these groups of animals was given a scenario to act out. The battery hens were crammed together in a make-shift cage. The pigs were separated in crates made from chairs. The circus animals were perched on top of tables and the laboratory animals huddled under a table together.
At the end of the exercise each group reported back on what life for these animals would be like and how we could help them.
We had some very serious and passionate animal advocates who demanded freedom for the animals! Although it's fun to dress up, the children were all glad to take off their costumes at the end and return to the relative safety of being human.
Special thanks to SAFE volunteers Christopher, Pam and Michaela who helped on the day.
Nichola Kriek, Education officer
STUDENTS CRUSADE FOR ANIMALS
Inspired after attending SAFE's ‘Why Animals Matter' Kidsfest workshop Niva decided to crusade to help animals.
In August, Niva's school set her class an assignment that asked students to raise awareness and money for a charity. Niva immediately hatched a plan to help animals and set about creating some special blocks (based on Keith Haring designs) to raise money for SAFE.
With the help of her friend Olive, Niva organised a stall at the Arts Centre and together they made cupcakes and toffee apples to sell alongside the handcrafted painted blocks.
Niva's goal was to raise $200 and so they were extremely excited to count up a whopping total of $180. A tremendous effort!
SAFE education officer Nichola Kriek was highly impressed.
"The stall was held just two weeks after the earthquake in Christchurch. Their signs were held down with fallen bricks of all things! These two talented fundraising stars deserve a medal for all their work and determination. Niva and Olive - you're stars in our eyes! Thank you from SAFE and the animals," says Nichola.
Niva says she loves animals and looks after some ex-battery hens at home. You rock, Niva!
ANIMALS ON SHOW OUT NOW!
This week every secondary school in New Zealand (that's 380 schools) received Animals on Show, the third issue in the popular Animals & Us series. Almost immediately upon receiving copies of the resource, teachers were emailing SAFE with their feedback.
"...the resource is really really great and you have done a wonderful job." - Villa Maria College
"Thanks for the copies of Animals on Show, I think it will be a really useful resource." - Dunstan College
"What an amazing resource." - Iona College
"I am impressed...the values and wider considerations of the 'new' curriculum suggest that the material in the book would be both useful and of high interest." - Rosehill College
"The speedy response of these teachers also ensured that their schools will each receive a full class set of Animals on Show as part of a special prize draw we were offering," says SAFE education officer Nichola Kriek.
"We are thrilled to be able to provide these materials to schools and enable teachers to engage their students in a way that develops values and critical thinking about topical and often controversial issues."
SAFE would like to acknowledge all those who have contributed to the production of Animals on Show, and in particular Dogs Breakfast Trading Company, whose generous support enabled us to create this important resource.
All materials found in Animals on Show can be downloaded from the Animals & Us website: www.animalsandus.org.nz
ANIMALS ON SHOW
After months of writing, research and preparation the third issue in the popular Animals & Us SAFE education series is about to be released. Entitled Animals on Show, the 232-page resource provides teachers and students with a critical look at the animal entertainment industry.
Six units of study (English, Social Studies and Biology) are included in the comprehensive multidisciplinary resource which questions the fate of animals in zoos, circuses, rodeos and aquaria and poses the following critical questions:
• How should humans treat animals and the natural world?
• Is it acceptable to treat living beings as commodities or objects for our entertainment or profit?
Animals on Show follows the same format as the first two issues, providing a wide selection of written and visual texts that debate the use of animals in entertainment. The resource also includes a DVD with a range of news items, documentaries, film clips and visual images.
Every secondary school in New Zealand will receive twelve free copies of Animals on Show in October.
ANIMALS ON SHOW
Third humane education resource underway
A trip to the zoo, circus or aquarium is considered by many people to be merely an afternoon's diversion. We flit in, gape and admire for a few hours, then flit out again without a second thought. For the animals permanently behind bars, forced to perform degrading tricks and deprived of a natural existence, the experience is not so transitory.
The third issue of the SAFE Animals & Us education series will take a critical look at how we treat and view 'Animals on Show.'
Attitudes are slowly changing with regard to the use of animals in entertainment. For many people it is no longer acceptable to keep dolphins in swimming pools, consign elephants to a life on the road or confine polar bears in concrete cells.
This thought-provoking issue will explore the attitudes that have shaped how we treat animals used in entertainment. Students will be able to discuss and debate the issues through the provision of lessons in Social Studies, Science and History. Lessons will cover the history of aquaria, circuses and zoos, and examine the experiences of marine mammals, great apes and other species in captivity. There will also be English lessons exploring how captive animals are portrayed in the fiction of writers such as Janet Frame and William Carlos Williams, the poetry of Ted Hughes, Stevie Smith, Rainer Maria Rilke and Edward Kamau Brathwaite, and in films such as Peter Jackson's King Kong.
The textbook will contain a wide selection of resource materials by academics, poets, authors, artists, film makers and animal behaviourists. It will be a unique opportunity for teachers and students to think critically about values and the human-animal relationship in a context that many young people will readily relate to and have first-hand experience of.
The first two issues of Animals & Us have proven that the study of animal topics is of great interest to teachers and students alike. SAFE education officer Nichola Kriek said "We have just completed an evaluative survey of the second Animals & Us resource, Animal Rights, Human Values, Social Action, and teachers were excited not only by the subject matter which has a high interest value to students, but also by the fact that many students were motivated to take their study further." Joanne Wilson from Palmerston North Girls' High School explains: "The students actually [chose] to get entire texts from the city library to read."
The third resource is scheduled to be completed and made available to schools in August this year.
EDUCATION RESOURCE IMPRESSES
The release of the second issue in the SAFE Animals & Us education series, Animal Rights, Human Values, Social Action, was not only a proud moment for SAFE, but confirmation of the ongoing commitment SAFE has made to education.
The Social Studies department of every secondary school in New Zealand received 12 complimentary copies of the new resource book. As part of the launch we made a special offer of a full class set to the first five schools to contact SAFE. This offer was snapped up within hours of them arriving at schools.
Queen Margaret College HOD of Social Sciences Peter du Plessis says, "It is an awesome resource...if I can have a full set that would be marvellous." Along with the demand from schools over 40 teachers from around the country have ordered personal copies.
Academics and authors who contributed to the resource are also excited about the new booklet. Richard Ryder, psychologist and animal advocate (famous for coining the term ‘speciesism'), wrote: "Very many thanks for taking the trouble to send me your excellent Animal Rights, Human Values, Social Action. It really is a great achievement and puts together a number of interesting texts. I think New Zealand should be proud of what has been done. It is so important to get the education right."
SAFE is delighted by such praise and honoured to be able to include the works of Richard and his contemporaries in our booklet. Long-time animal advocate Kim Stallwood was also kind enough to endorse the resource on his website. Click here.
Dr Philip Armstrong, key contributor and co-author of the resource, explains the attraction and importance of the Animals & Us resources for learners and educators. "What makes this resource valuable...is the practical way it puts students' engagement with these [human-animal] issues to work, by supplying both texts and tasks focused upon developing the particular academic competencies, personal virtues and social values identified in the New Zealand Curriculum. The material here is therefore ready for immediate use in the secondary classrooms of Aotearoa."
SAFE is currently starting on the third issue in the Animals & Us series in a programme that is beginning to make its mark on the world stage of education.
ANIMAL RIGHTS 101 AT KIDSFEST
The annual school holiday programme KidsFest run by the Christchurch City Council this year offered a ‘crash course' in animal rights for 10 to 13 year olds. The SAFE-run, 90-min education workshop filled up fast, much to the delight of SAFE's education officer Nichola Kriek. A very enthusiastic group of teenagers descended on SAFE with one thing in common - a love of animals.
During the session the group made posters and discussed the different ways humans exploit non-human animals. The group explored factory farming; animal experimentation; animals used in entertainment; bloodsports; and animal emotions.
"It was fun to work with a group of young people with such passion for animals," said Nichola. "One parent was so excited to see her daughter, who she said was usually very shy, interacting and presenting information with the rest of the group."
"The group went away well informed as to how to achieve a compassionate future for all animals," said Nichola.
HUMANE TEACHING IN SCHOOLS
SAFE education officer Nichola Kriek recently spoke at the South Pacific Humane Education Conference in Auckland. The conference, co-organised by WSPA and the RNZSPCA, was attended by representatives and delegates from animal welfare and rights organisations from throughout the South Pacific.
Nichola was the first speaker and kicked off the conference with a presentation on how to effectively deliver a high school education programme. The timing of the conference fortuitously coincided with the launch of the latest Animals & Us resource booklet Animal Rights, Human Values, Social Action.
"It was wonderful to be able to give those in attendance, particularly the humane educators, a sneak peak at SAFE's new resource," says Nichola. "Other speakers discussed the importance of strategic planning for humane education, evaluation of teaching programmes, e-learning and how to better encourage teacher involvement."
SAFE congratulates the organisers for putting together an excellent conference.
SAFE LAUNCHES WORLD-CLASS RESOURCE
SAFE officially launched the second booklet in the Animals & Us series Animal Rights, Human Values, Social Action last week in Auckland. Guest speaker, internationally acclaimed author Jeffrey Masson exclaimed the resource was a "world first" and was encouraged to hear schools were keen to engage in learning about animal rights.
SAFE committee member and university lecturer Dr Philip Armstrong followed with fascinating examples of how human-animal studies can be incorporated into secondary learning and identified the strong links this type of study has to the key competencies.
"Animal Rights, Human Values, Social Action provides opportunities for students to think about issues that are crucial for their generation: how to safeguard rights and pursue social justice in a crowded and unequal world; how to treat those who are different and less powerful than ourselves; where our values come from and how they are put into practice in our society," says Philip.
SAFE education officer Nichola Kriek, who co-authored the resource, then introduced the resource and explained some of its special features.
"It is a great honour to be able to present this exciting new resource to schools. The response from teachers has been fantastic," says Nichola.
After almost 18 months of research and preparation SAFE is delighted to announce the release of the second resource in the Animals & Us humane education series: Animal Rights, Human Values, Social Action. Next month every secondary school in New Zealand will receive this vital resource which will help reinforce the value of animals to school students for years to come.
"This resource contains so much interesting information for teachers and students to explore. Our relationship with animals touches at the core of who we are as people, our values and our ideals. I think teachers and students alike will find this issue informative and compelling," says SAFE's Education officer Nichola Kriek.
Animal Rights, Human Values, Social Action has been designed for use in secondary schools for students in years 9-13 and has been specifically written for the New Zealand Social Studies curriculum. Dr Philip Armstrong, Co-director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies and Associate Professor at Canterbury University, who helped create the resource, explains the benefits of incorporating Animals & Us resources into teaching programmes.
"In this country, just about all young people have grown up around animals, and very few are immune to the fascination that our species feels for the others with whom we share our planet. Animals & Us goes to the heart of these relationships - with the animals we bring into our families as companions, the ones who live in the wild and the ones we farm or experiment upon. By focusing on these ubiquitous (but seldom investigated) relationships, students will be able to think about issues that are critical for their generation: how to safeguard rights and pursue social justice in a crowded and unequal world; how to treat those who are different from and less powerful than ourselves; where our values come from and how they are put into practice in our society.
What makes this resource essential, however, is the practical way it puts students' engagement with these issues to work, by supplying both texts and tasks focused upon developing the particular academic competencies, personal virtues and social values identified in the New Zealand Curriculum. The material is therefore ready for immediate use in the secondary classrooms of Aotearoa."
Cartoon printed with permission courtesy of Dan Piraro.
Animal Rights, Human Values, Social Action contains:
• Six comprehensive Units of Study
• An extensive selection of written and visual texts
• A DVD with film clips and printable images
The resource is supported by an informative website with texts and downloads.
For more information visit the Animals & Us website.