Why Animals?

Human-Animal Studies

The study of human-animal relations offers a clear and adaptable lens through which to address one of the most important elements of the New Zealand curriculum: the development of the values and attitudes that form young people into responsible and compassionate citizens.

Some of the crucial lessons for children are learnt via their relationships with animals, including:

  • Finding out about the natural world
  • Assuming responsibility for the well-being of another living being
  • Grieving over the loss of a loved companion

The psychological and social links between empathy for animals and concern for the well-being of other humans are now very thoroughly documented. In this sense, animal studies are an appropriate and necessary component of an inclusive education.

“Humane education explores how we might live with compassion and respect for everyone: not just our friends and neighbours, but all people; not just our own dogs and cats, but all animals; not just our own homes, but also the earth itself, our ultimate home.

Animals & Us combines two major trends that have become increasingly widespread and accepted in secondary and tertiary teaching throughout the world:

Human-Animal studies and humane education programmes

Environmental studies and ecocriticism programmes

In human-animal studies human-animal relations are explored from diverse perspectives with two aims:

To learn more about human beings and how our societies and cultures operate, by focusing on our relationship to, beliefs about, and treatment of, non-human animals.

To challenge current ethical and environmental concerns regarding the treatment of non-human animals.

“Each one of us can make a difference…
Together we can make change.”