The Humane Education and Advocacy Program serves to educate children and adults about responsible animal stewardship through (1) creating and providing humane education programs; (2) providing informational services to supporters and the general public; (3) networking with other humane organizations; (4) creating and distributing humane education materials; (5) creating, maintaining, and disseminating relevant information via the NHES website, social networking sites, and email newsletters; and (6) advocating for animals by encouraging private companies, law enforcement, regulatory agencies, lawmakers, and other groups nationally and internationally to adopt policies and practices that support the humane treatment of animals.
In 1954, Alice Morgan Wright, NHES board member and benefactress, wrote of NHES, “In 1948 we incorporated, a small group of us, to carry on what we think is one of the urgent needs of our time, Humane Education.” Today, the urgent need for humane education is still with us, and the NHES Humane Education & Advocacy Program is doing its part to provide humane education for a more humane world.
Twelve states in the U.S. have laws that address the humane treatment of animals and/or humane education in varying forms in public schools.
“In the public elementary and high schools or in public elementary and high school school-sponsored activities and classes held elsewhere than on school premises, live vertebrate animals shall not, as part of a scientific experiment or any purpose whatever: (a) Be experimentally medicated or drugged in a manner to cause painful reactions or induce painful or lethal pathological conditions. (b) Be injured through any other treatments, including, but not limited to, anesthetization or electric shock. Live animals on the premises of a public elementary or high school shall be housed and cared for in a humane and safe manner. The provisions of this section are not intended to prohibit or constrain vocational instruction in the normal practices of animal husbandry.”
“When recommending instructional materials for use in the schools, each committee shall require such materials as it deems necessary and proper to encourage thrift, fire prevention, and humane treatment of people and animals.”
“In every public school there shall be instruction, study and discussion of current problems and needs in the conservation of natural resources, including but not limited to air pollution, water pollution, waste reduction and recycling, the effects of excessive use of pesticides, preservation of wilderness areas, forest management, protection of wildlife and humane care of domestic animals.”
Louisiana’s humane education law (Title 17, Section 266), was repealed in 2013.
“Instructors of youth in public or private institutions shall use their best endeavors to impress on the minds of the children and youth committed to their care and instruction the principles of morality and justice and a sacred regard for truth; love of country, humanity and a universal benevolence; the great principles of humanity as illustrated by kindness to birds and animals and regard for all factors which contribute to the well-being of man; industry and frugality; chastity, moderation and temperance; and all other virtues which ornament human society; and to lead those under their care, as their ages and capacities admit, into a particular understanding of the tendency of such virtues to preserve and perfect a republican constitution, secure the blessings of liberty and to promote their future happiness.”
“No school principal, administrator or teacher shall allow any live vertebrate to be used in any elementary or high school under state control or supported wholly or partly by public money of the state as part of a scientific experiment or for any other purpose in which said vertebrates are experimentally medicated or drugged in a manner to cause painful reactions or to induce painful or lethal pathological conditions, or in which said vertebrates are injured through any other type of treatment, experiment or procedure including but not limited to anesthetization or electric shock, or where the normal health of said animal is interfered with or where pain or distress is caused.
No person shall, in the presence of a pupil in any elementary or high school under state control or supported wholly or partly by public money of the state, practice vivisection, or exhibit a vivisected animal. Dissection of dead animals or any portions thereof in such schools shall be confined to the class room and to the presence of pupils engaged in the study to be promoted thereby, and shall in no case be for the purpose of exhibition.
Live animals used as class pets or for purposes not prohibited in paragraphs one and two hereof in such schools shall be housed or cared for in a safe and humane manner. Said animals shall not remain in school over periods when such schools are not in session, unless adequate care is provided at all times.
The provisions of the preceding three paragraphs shall also apply to any activity associated with or sponsored by the school. Whoever violates the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars.”
644:8-c Animal Use in Science Classes and Science Fairs. –
I. In this section:
(a) “Animal” means any member of the kingdom of Animalia.
(b) “Vertebrate animal” means any animal belonging to the subphylum Vertebrata of the phylum Chordata, and specifically includes all mammals, fishes, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
II. Live vertebrate animals shall not be used in experiments or observational studies, with the following exceptions:
(a) Observational studies may be made of the normal living patterns of wild animals, in the free living state or in zoological parks, gardens, or aquaria.
(b) Observational studies may be made of the living patterns of vertebrate animals in the classroom.
(c) Observational studies on bird egg embryos are permitted. However, if normal bird embryos are to be allowed to hatch, satisfactory humane consideration shall be made for disposal of the baby birds.
(d) Vertebrate animal cells such as red blood cells or other tissue cells, plasma or serum, or anatomical specimens, such as organs, tissues, or skeletons, may be used in experiments or observational studies.
III. No school principal, administrator or teacher shall allow any live vertebrate animal to be used in any elementary or secondary school, or in any activity associated with such school, such as science fairs, as part of a scientific experiment or procedure in which the health of the animal is interfered with, or in which pain, suffering, or distress is caused. Such experiments and procedures include, but are not limited to, surgery, anesthetization, and the inducement by any means of painful, lethal, or pathological conditions through techniques that include, but are not limited to:
(a) Administration of drugs;
(b) Exposure to pathogens, ionizing radiation, carcinogens, or to toxic or hazardous substances;
(c) Deprivation; or
(d) Electric shock or other distressing stimuli.
IV. All experiments on live vertebrate animals which are not prohibited by this section shall be carried out under the supervision of a competent science teacher who shall be responsible for ensuring that the student has the necessary comprehension for the study to be undertaken.
V. No person shall, in the presence of a pupil in any elementary or secondary school, perform any of the procedures or experiments described in paragraph III or exhibit any vertebrate animal that has been used in such manner. Dissection of any dead animal, or portions thereof, shall be confined to the presence of students engaged in the study to be promoted by the dissections.
VI. Science fair projects originating in other states that do not conform with the provisions of this section shall not be exhibited within the state.
VII. Any live animal kept in any elementary or secondary school shall be housed and cared for in a humane and safe manner and shall be the personal responsibility of the teacher or other adult supervisor of the project or study.
VIII. Ordinary agricultural procedures taught in animal husbandry courses shall not be prohibited by this section.
IX. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
“Requires course of study in principles of humanity”
“…Pursuant to articles 2, 17 and 65 of the Education Law, instruction in certain subjects in elementary and secondary school shall be provided as follows:
for all public elementary school students, instruction in the humane treatment of animals and birds, as required by section 809 of the Education Law; and
for all public school students, instruction relating to the conservation of the natural resources of the State, as required by section 810 of the Education Law.”
“Teaching humane treatment of animals. Oral instruction of the human treatment of animals must be given in each public school.”
“Instruction in ethics and morality.(1) In public schools special emphasis shall be given to instruction in:(a) Honesty, morality, courtesy, obedience to law, respect for the national flag, the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Oregon, respect for parents and the home, the dignity and necessity of honest labor and other lessons which tend to promote and develop an up-right and desirable citizenry. (b) Respect for all humans, regardless of race, color,creed,national origin, religion, age, sex or disability. Acknowledgment of the dignity and worth of individuals and groups and their participative roles in society. (c) Humane treatment of animals.(d) The effects of tobacco, alcohol,drugs, and controlled substances upon the human system.”
“Instruction in humane education shall be given to all pupils up to and including the fourth grade, and need not exceed half an hour each week during the whole school term. No cruel experiment on any living creature shall be permitted in any public school of this Commonwealth.”
“All common schools shall give instruction in reading, handwriting, orthography, written and mental arithmetic, geography, the history of the United States, English grammar, physiology and hygiene with special reference to the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the human system, science with special reference to the environment, and such other studies as may be prescribed by rule of the superintendent of public instruction. All teachers shall stress the importance of the cultivation of manners, the fundamental principles of honesty, honor, industry and economy, the minimum requisites for good health including the beneficial effect of physical exercise and methods to prevent exposure to and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, and the worth of kindness to all living creatures and the land. The prevention of child abuse may be offered as part of the curriculum in the common schools.”
“Arbor and Bird Day. The governor, by proclamation, may set apart one day each year to be designated as Arbor and Bird Day, and may request its observance by all schools, colleges and other institutions by the planting of trees, the adornment of school and public grounds and by suitable exercises having for their object the advancement of the study of arboriculture, the promotion of a spirit of protection to birds and trees and the cultivation of an appreciative sentiment concerning them.”