PAWS Humane Education Programs are Changing Seattle Kids’ Views
D o you know there is a link between kids who are abusive to animals and adults who are abusive? Lynwood-baed PAWS, which is dedicated to rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife, sheltering and adopting homeless cats and dogs, and educating people to make a better world for animals and people, knows plenty about the link and is working to reduce the instances of both animal and human abuse through the PAWSs Humane Education Program.
The PAWS website offers this information about the program:
What is humane education?
Simply put, humane education fosters empathy in individuals for all living beings on the earth. PAWS offers a variety of programs that nurture the empathy inherent in every child, teaching them to appreciate, respect and help animals, whether companion, wild or farm.
PAWS programs include group and classroom visits, workshops at PAWS, and mentoring students working on special projects. Through these programs volunteers and staff at PAWS inform young people about issues that animals face, and empower them to make a difference in their communities.
The value of humane education
Research supports the value of humane education. A 1997 study by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found that over a 20-year period, a group of individuals who had abused animals as youths were five times more likely as the non-abusers to commit violent crimes, four times more likely to commit property crimes and three times more likely to have drug or disorderly conduct offenses. Read more about the connection between animal abuse and human violence.
PAWS is working hard to reverse statistics like these in the Puget Sound, by nurturing the empathy in children so that they will, in turn, show compassion toward animals and each other.
The PAWS Humane Education Program
Schools and community groups throughout the greater Seattle have brought the PAWS Humane Education Program to the kids in their care. Developed by a committee of Puget Sound educators, the program is continually revised with the help of local teachers.
PAWS’ programs bring community leaders into the classroom, broaden career horizons for students and meet character education mandates and Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements. PAWS’ programs also help Scout and group leaders in meeting badge requirements and introducing youth to charities and community services.
Kids Who Care is PAWS' primary humane education program. It is a six-week, in-depth course taught in elementary schools that covers a range of topics from positive, safe interactions with dogs and cats to developing a greater understanding of wildlife and farm animals. Learn more about PAWS’ Kids Who Care and other group and classroom programs.
The Success of the PAWS Humane Education Program
An opinion survey is administered to all children at the beginning and end of PAWS' most in-depth humane education program -- the Kids Who Care program.
The survey has two goals. The first one is to discover the current knowledge base and opinions on various animal-related issues, which helps the program prepare for individuals classes. The second one is to provide an evaluation tool, measuring the success of the goals of the program. Current opinion surveys have revealed marked attitudinal changes in key areas.
Some significant pre-to-post test changes were:
"It is okay to keep dogs on chains all the time."
Pretest: 21% agree / Post-test: 5% agree
"Wild animals can be tamed into pets."
Pretest: 34% disagree / Post-test: 90% disagree
"Dogs and cats need to be able to come inside a house with people."
Pretest: 58% agree / Post-test: 72% agree
"Dogs and cats should be spayed and neutered."
Pretest: 14% agree / Post-test: 80% agree