Ethical Treatment of Animals Now Taught in China’s High Schools
By introducing animal welfare as a high school subject, China takes a significant step–one that will, hopefully, inspire other countries to do the same.
China is not known for its fair treatment of animals; in fact, this country is often under scrutiny for their lack of animal welfare legislation: animal testing is compulsory for some industries, they are the biggest fur-producing nation, and their dietary choices have often been particularly cruel. But, it seems that this Asian country is turning over a new leaf.
Pets are becoming more and more popular among the Chinese middle class, and it looks like furry family members are inspiring their owners to open their hearts to all animal suffering. In 2015 alone, up to 100 million animals – mainly cats and dogs – were registered as companion animals in China. Thirty years ago, there was only one animal welfare charity in China. Today there are more than 200 organizations with a presence in almost every province of the country. Each year, the situation is getting better for the animals, and hope is that China will have an animal welfare legislation in place in the near future.
Until then, Chinese animal lovers have one big reason to feel excited. China’s Ministry of Education is introducing a new optional module for high school students that will open the hearts and minds of these young people to the suffering of animals.
The animal welfare subject, which is to be a part of biology curriculum, is to cultivate students’ respect for life by teaching them about the ethical treatment of animals, animal welfare legislation and the welfare of companion animals such as cats and dogs as well as wild animals, farm animals, and captive animals. The ministry also advised teachers to combine theoretical learning with practical, on hands knowledge: visits to shelters and farms, where their pupils could see for themselves the need for an animal welfare legislation. This decision by the government has been met with approval from both the country’s and international animal welfare organizations, one of which was Animals Asia Foundation.
The young, bright minds are sure to fully understand the importance of ending animal cruelty. Hopefully, this will be the first of many steps China takes to make animal lives better and an action that motivates other nations to educate their young people about the needlessness of animal suffering.