Alice laughed. "There's not use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
What is Humane Education?
The term 'humane education' is commonly applied to the adequate treatment and respect of animals. The true definition, however, extends also to respecting all human beings and the world surrounding us. It's important to understand that respect for people, the environment, and animals are all interconnected, i.e., it makes no sense protecting species in extinction if their habitats are not being protected as well and if people are not being incentivized to develop positive attitudes and caring for said species.
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Although humane education is extended to the general public, it's mainly directed at young people since it's during the phase that one starts questioning conformity and formulating concepts and attitudes.
Formal humane education in schools is particularly important since it encourages compassion for future generations of citizens.
Research indicates a connection between a child's socialization and experiences and his/hers subsequent attitudes and behaviors.
Humane education benefits children as well as adults, as it allows them to develop an ethical dimension of thought that one can apply in work situations, as it happens in the case of introducing animal welfare education in courses of veterinary medicine/zootechny.
Informal education is also an important area in humane education. Youth associations, defenders of companion animals, agricultural associations, for instance, are good vehicles for the promotion of positive attitude regarding animal welfare.
Changes in attitudes and behaviors are also achieved by campaigning, another effective way to quickly spread specific questions, as in the case of campaigning against the use of fur.
What is SPEdH's role?
SPEdH aims to promote humane education through:
Promoting meetings, lectures and conferences;
Attributing merit scholarships to students who wish to enroll in courses regarding humane education and animal welfare and/or participate in related international congresses;
Developing awareness actions, formal and informal education;
Developing programs and educational tools for teachers, students and professionals;
Cooperating with Portuguese and international organizations who also regard humane education.