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Teaching Children to Value Animals

January 11, 2014

As a supporter of programs that benefit both children and animals, the American Humane Association has long worked to strengthen the connections between humans and their fellow creatures. The AHA supports the work of the LIFE (Leaders in Furthering Education) Humane Heroes Club, established under the direction of Florida philanthropist and AHA board member Lois Pope. The Humane Heroes Club’s mission involves educating America’s young people about the value of caring for the animals that share our world.

Humane Heroes learn to advocate for the safety and welfare of animals, as well as to be responsible animal owners themselves. Associated AHA lesson plans, geared to children at every stage of maturity, emphasize the development of positive character traits through visiting animal shelters and interacting with therapy animals.

When children learn to have empathy for animals, they are more likely to develop into kind, compassionate adults who demonstrate greater care for other human beings. Young children quickly come to identify with animals, and the resulting bonds can help to develop broader qualities of good citizenship. Some behavioral experts point to the fact that a common denominator in young people who have committed violent acts in their schools is an alleged abuse of animals. FBI criminal profilers cite cruelty to animals as one of the warning signs that a young person is susceptible to becoming a violent offender as an adult.

Animal advocates advise parents to demonstrate care for animals themselves. Escort animals that invade your home back outside gently, and avoid making negative statements about animals. Steer children away from video games that depict violence toward animals, and ensure that you spay or neuter your family’s animal companions and give them the appropriate vaccinations.

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From → Lois Pope

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