05/26/14 Proposal to Supplement the Curriculum of Civic Education
In this way, Animal Friends provides its proposal for supplementing the Curriculum of civic education, as suggested by Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, and Education and Teacher Training Agency (further in text: Curriculum)
It is our opinion that the curriculum of civic education should also include the area of animal protection, taking into account that this is a theme that runs through every dimension of civic competence, as seen by the Curriculum, and is as such a good example of a subject that can be used to work in all areas set forth in the Curriculum, allowing the students to develop competences in the sense and the manner prescribed by the Curriculum.
The theme of animal welfare, protection and their rights is a theme that runs through all the structural dimensions of civic competence - human rights, political, social, cultural, economic and environmental - connecting them to each other or in opposition. As such, we believe that it is extremely suitable and applicable as a topic which would be devoted attention in school program.
For example, due to the extremely conflicting and opposing views (in the form of "pros and cons"), the theme of exploitation of animals by humans is a good example of topics on which they can practice and develop the skills and competencies from their own advocacy to respecting other people's opinions, insights into democratic form of argument, discussion, debate, acceptance of diversity, rights and views of others, the right to freedom of speech and opinion, tolerance and critical thinking.
Furthermore, the issue of animal protection develops humanity in people, empathy and compassion, and it puts emphasis on non-violence as the preferred and the only acceptable course of action and behavior. Also, and here we draw your attention to conclusions based on our own work and experience, animal protection is a topic which children can engage with through volunteering and charity work in the school and the local community, through the organization and implementation of actions which mark special days or actions, through participation in the work of local civil society organizations, as well as the humanitarian actions of the school in collaboration with the local community, particularly civil society organizations - and these are the ways of action stated in the proposed text of the Curriculum.
Finally, we emphasise that our initiative does not require significant changes in Curriculum, which we have been particularly mindful of. In connection with the above, we suggest the inclusion of the Animal Protection Act and the following references: Animal Liberation by Peter Singer (IBIS Grafika, Zagreb, 1998), as the sources of learning and teaching, as well as the recommendation given by you of incorporating these topics into the curriculum, in the manner noted previously.
According to the latest public opinion polls 86.5% of Croatian citizens support vegetarianism, of which 28.9% said they could become vegetarians. The same research shows results that in Croatia, as many as 3.7% of people are vegetarian and this number is constantly growing, and over 160,000 Croatian citizens are vegetarians or vegans.
Given these results, it is not surprising that 73.2% of citizens think that vegetarian offer in Croatia should be improved, and this does not include foreign tourists demands which are also not negligible given that recent studies show that every tenth citizen of Germany does not eat meat. 73.7% of citizens would like to ban farming animals for fur.
According to the above figures we consider that the Curriculum of civic education should also include the area of vegetarianism/veganism as:
- dimension of structural components. Accordingly, vegetarianism and veganism as a way of life includes the following dimensions: (human)rights, social, (inter)cultural, economic and ecological.
We suggest that in the first cycle (from 1st to 4th grade of primary school) the characteristics, goals (p. 15 and 16) includes or mentions the word vegetarianism, veganism and animal rights as a topic that educates students and shows that they understand and have embraced the concept of active and responsible and democratic citizenship (representing democratic values: the dignity of a person, equality, justice and non-violence). This way we encourage the development of independence, justice, solidarity, peace, incorruptibility, respect of own and other people's work and personal commitment to the welfare of others. Suitable activities where they mention volunteering, charity work, creative workshops and action enforcement may also include the work of organizations whose program advocates for animal rights, a healthy diet and environmental protection.
We suggest that the above mentioned topics should have attention drawn to them in Civic education realization in cycles:
In the First Cycle under:
- Citizen's values and attitudes (p. 20) where it was stated that the student... shows responsibility for their own health and advocates healthy lifestyles; (include veganism and vegetarianism as healthy lifestyle). Furthermore... shows commitment to the preservation of living beings and the natural and cultural environment (advocate for animal rights)...
In the Second and Third and the Fourth Cycle under:
- Appropriate activities for the development of civic competence (p. 22), workshops for environmental conservation and cultivation of organic products - include working with organizations that can educate and raise awareness on animal rights and humane treatment to them as well as vegetarianism and veganism.
- Furthermore, this way connects and touches Civic knowledge and understanding that mentions "the importance of humanitarian activities and voluntary social work" (p. 24) and "states rights and responsibilities of citizens associated with environmental protection and sustainable development; describes the ways in which citizens can together protect living beings and the natural and cultural environment; concludes on the necessity of changing behavior patterns to ensure sustainable development (p. 24, and similarly p. 28 and 29).
- p. 31 - .... explains how citizens through their consumption contribute to manufacturing of goods which threatens the health of people, living beings and the environment; describes how citizens can engage in protecting the environment and ensuring sustainable development at different levels... it should be noted there that veganism and vegetarianism as a way of life contribute to environment protection.
- Item 5. Inter-connection of the Civic education "Linking Civic education with teaching biology, chemistry and physics can also be realized through various topics that are related to the protection of individual's rights and seek the active involvement of citizens in the modern world, such as sustainable development, biodiversity, greenhouse effect, GMO research of the human genome," - highlight the theme of how vegetarians and vegans with their ethical way of life contribute to conservation of natural resources, environmental protection as well as to their own health.
- Item 7. Curriculum of Civic education - within the classroom teaching from 1st to 4th grade of the primary school, as well as the respective classes of fifth-graders to 2nd year of high school, under extra-curriculum activities which mention environmental protection, the topics can include animal protection and rights and vegetarianism and veganism as a lifestyle that contributes to it.
- Item 8. Curriculum of Civic education (6th grade of primary school to 2nd grade of high school)
- The human-rights dimension associated with other dimensions
- Social dimension associated with other dimensions
- (Inter)cultural dimension associated with other dimensions
- Ecological dimension associated with other dimensions
Vegetarianism and veganism as a human-rights, social, political, economic and environmental dimensions: Eating meat helps the expansion of world hunger because there still isn't enough land for all the animals that need to be farmed in order to feed the whole world with meat. Most of what cattle eat does not turn into meat, but in faeces. In order to feed the whole world with kind of meat produce that we eat in rich countries of the West, we need four planets Earth! Livestock takes up too much land, uses up too much water and causes deterioration of the rain forests, life in the wild, causes acid rain, global warming and water pollution. The most important tool, along with education, is a positive, honest and considerate example. Looking at the long-term changes in society, we know that each of us is changing the world by our example, activities, our attitude - our whole existence. Vegetarians and vegans do not just fight for their rights, but for the rights of planet Earth and animal rights.