ORCA – partner in education
Children and young people are naturally fascinated by animals and nature. Education on animal welfare and nature protection uses this fact as an incentive for creative learning and nurturing of a compassionate attitude towards animals, humans and the environment, thus contributing to the formation of future citizens of a humane and tolerant, democratic society.
The content regarding animal welfare and nature protection in pre-school, primary and secondary education and upbringing is on a small scale today. Educators and teachers are not sufficiently trained and insufficiently use modern teaching methods in this field. Children, on the other hand, spend less and less time in nature, which has a negative impact on their mental and physical health.
The best way to create a culture of respect and responsible attitude towards animals, nature and humans is to integrate animal welfare education into the education and training program in the Republic of Serbia. Using modern teaching methods about animal welfare in education and upbringing raises the quality of teaching.
ORCA EDUCATION is a program implemented by ORCA since 2002 with the aim of integrating animal welfare education into the compulsory curriculum in the Republic of Serbia and providing professional support to teachers and educators to apply animal welfare and nature conservation educational contents in daily school activities.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Education about animal welfare develops values, attitudes and critical thinking in the direction of responsibility, respect, understanding of diversity and compassionate attitude towards animals, nature and people. Such educational contents are designed to develop awareness, understanding and knowledge of problems related to attitudes towards animals and nature, that is, to promote ways in which conflicting views and interests can be reconciled. The topics covered are intellectually stimulating and are an important part of the culture of modern man.
Reducing violence in society
It has been scientifically proven that children who exhibit aggressive and cruel behavior to animals are at risk of criminogenic and other antisocial behavior in adulthood. Education and upbringing that underline animal welfare and nature conservation have a preventive effect on the development of such behaviors, and teaching children and young people to respect and responsibly treat animals and nature contributes to the development of humane, righteous and compassionate people who respect all living things.
Contribution to better education and upbringing
In recent years, animal welfare and nature conservation have been slowly gaining the place they deserve within curricula and practices of educational institutions. Using modern teaching methods, education and upbringing that take into account animal welfare and nature conservation, we raise the quality of teaching. Children and young people are motivated to learn and thrive, using their natural fascination and interest in acquiring knowledge about animal welfare and nature conservation.
The issue of animal welfare and nature conservation is naturally linked to many social problems. An irresponsible attitude towards animals and nature leads to a number of problems that negatively affect not only animals but also humans. Some of them include the existence of a large number of abandoned animals that are associated with various safety, health, hygiene and economic problems, a decline in the quality of food (meat, milk, eggs and other foods of animal origin) due to inadequate breeding conditions for domestic animals; endangered safety of citizens and injuries caused by dangerous animals due to the irresponsibility of their owners, transmission of diseases common to humans and animals due to the owners’ inappropriate treatment of them, the development of behavioral disorders in children and the increase in violence in society.
“The worst thing that can happen to a child that hurt an animal is to go unpunished.” (Margaret Mead)
The link between childhood abuse of animals and aggression in adulthood has been known since the middle of the last century when it was scientifically confirmed that children exhibiting aggressive behavior and cruelty to animals were at risk of exhibiting criminogenic or other antisocial behavior in adulthood. Research also shows that abuse of an animal inside or outside the family can be an instrument of psychological abuse of a woman or a child who is emotionally attached to it, and that aggression against animals in the family system further traumatizes the victims and makes them insensitive to aggression, and may be another indicator of development of psychopathological behavior in children. Animal abuse can therefore be an indicator of domestic violence, but also a significant diagnostic indicator of the development and existence of psychopathological behavior.
The best way to create a culture of respect and responsible treatment for animals and thereby reduce many of the social problems associated with irresponsible animal treatment is to include animal welfare in the curricula in the Republic of Serbia. It is necessary to nurture and develop a sense of respect for animals and nature through the program of preschool, primary and secondary education and upbringing, and to build a responsible attitude of children towards them. The contents of the classes on animal welfare and nature conservation comprise knowledge, skills, attitudes and values about the care and needs of animals, the environment, issues of social justice and civil ethics. They are so much more than that. These contents, in addition to giving knowledge about animal welfare and nature conservation, are designed to improve a child’s ability to empathize with living beings, to empathize with what an animal feels, which is a positive incentive to nurture a compassionate attitude toward humans in general and the environment.
“Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.” (Bradley Miller)
Through the “ORCA EDUCATION” program, ORCA openly advocates the inclusion of animal welfare in the formal education in the Republic of Serbia. ORCA achieves this by proposing the inclusion of animal welfare and nature conservation in the curricula of all subjects, supporting publishers in the preparation of textbooks and teaching aids that will meet the requirements of education on animal welfare and nature conservation, providing support to educators, teachers and psychological and pedagogical services for the implementation of content on animal welfare and nature conservation in everyday work and educational work with children and young people. ORCA conducts its activities in cooperation with educators, teachers, psychologists and pedagogues, professional associations, faculties, relevant institutions and international organizations.