The regional office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for Latin America and the Caribbean endorsed a World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) animal welfare education programme in primary schools on 18th April 2007. The programme is based on a similar animal welfare education programme that has been successful in Costa Rica for over 16 years.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is rolling out the ‘Respect for all forms of life’ education programme in Chile. Endorsement by the regional office of UNESCO based in Santiago, Chile will help to advance embedding of animal welfare and humane education in primary schools across the country.
In 2006 the education system of Chile was analysed to identify in which subjects in the primary school curriculum animal welfare topics could be integrated. Chilean consultancy ‘Ecosfera Consultores’ subsequently developed education materials for teachers and students.
The WSPA invited 30 teachers to the first ever teacher training workshops on animal welfare and humane education from 17-18 and 19-20 April 2007 in Santiago, to be followed by two similar workshops in Valparaiso (23-24 April) and Talca (26-27 April), reaching 120 teachers in total. During the workshops teachers receive resource packs containing education materials, which they will use to implement animal welfare activities in their lessons.
Endorsement of the WSPA initiative by the regional UNESCO office is recognition of the interdependency between humans, animals and the environment. In this way, animal welfare has a role to play in the ‘UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development’ initiative.
UNESCO’s policy of sharing best education practice worldwide in addition to stimulating experimentation, innovation and policy dialogue is important to WSPA; it is through raising awareness, promoting dialogue, critical thinking, legislative and policy changes that a change in people’s attitudes towards animals is brought about.
Jasmijn de Boo, Education Projects Manager, comments “we are really excited about the partnership with UNESCO, and hope that the endorsement for our animal welfare schools-based programmes will continue in other parts of the world. Our programme tries to ensure that young people across the world are instilled with a respect for all forms of life.”