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An In-class, Humane Education Program Can Improve Young Students' Attitudes Toward Animals

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 Executive Director, Soul Friends, Inc., 300 Church St, Suite 105, Wallingford, CT 06492, USA;, Email: kate@soul-friends.org
  • | 2 Director of Research and Education, College of Staten Island, 2800 Victory Boulevard, Room 3S-209, Staten Island, NY 10314, USA
  • | 3 Co-founder Soul Friends, Inc., 300 Church St, Suite 105, Wallingford, CT 06492, USA, People, Animals, Nature, Inc.
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Abstract

All 8 first-grade classes of an elementary school participated in a study of the efficacy of an in-class humane education program that incorporated regular visits from therapy animals. The study also investigated the relative efficacy of a popular, printed humane-education publication, although it was not possible to use this printed material in its optimal manner. The in-class humane-education program—but not the printed material—significantly increased students' self-reported attitudes toward nonhuman animals as compared to those of students who did not participate in the program. However, neither the in-class program nor the printed material affected student scores on another, self-report measure of interactions with one's nonhuman animal companions. Therefore, the results suggest that such an in-class approach can change young students' attitudes toward animals for the better; not surprisingly, actual interactions with one's pets may be somewhat less tractable.

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