Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

"Animal Rights" Education in Schools?

The NY Sun has an article "Animal Rights" may get taught in schools. I call BS on that. The proposal by Council Member Tony Avella calls on the Dept. of Education to inform the schools of a 1947 humane education requirement. Here is the headline:

Animal Rights May Get Seat in City Classrooms

Here is what the article says Mr. Avella is trying to do:

Under section 809 of New York's Education Law, passed in 1947, state schools are required to educate children in "the humane treatment and protection of animals and of the importance of the part they play in the economy of nature."

Council Member Tony Avella says the requirement has largely been ignored or forgotten.

"It's hardly followed — there's just a couple of schools in the city doing it, and on a voluntary basis it seems," Mr. Avella said yesterday. "But state law requires it."

"Animal Rights" is a very loaded term (and I don't say that it has to have a negative connotation). But, it's not the same thing as humane treatment of animals. For instance, giving your dog adequate food, shelter etc is humane treatment, but not an example of "animal rights".

Look at the comments at the end of the article. Many are talking about how "animal rights" is a code word to get rid of eating meat, give them the same legal protections etc. That may or may not be true. But that's not what Mr. Avela is talking about. The only person bringing up "Animal Rights" is the New York Sun.

Think I'm being nitpicky? Look at this comment from Mary:

What children need to learn about animals in the classroom is Animal WELFARE. How to correctly care for animals, how to act around animals, in particular dogs. Teach them that abuse and dog fighting are cruel and punishable by law. Teach them a respect for animals, but for heaven's sake, don't tell my kids that their life is no more than the life of a cockroach!

Is she reacting to the headline or the contents of the article? It's all in the framing.

Photo by Acnatta

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