What is Humane Education?

Humane Education is a field of study and method of teaching that enables people, animals and nature to thrive.

Many human rights, animal protection and sustainability issues are caused by ineffective social systems. These systems are often marked by inhumane or unsustainable practices.

Humane education believes that schooling is at the root of all societal systems. It is the key to creating lasting systemic change. By approaching education with compassion and integrity, we can prepare youth to tackle some of the biggest problems we face today. Animal-assisted interventions show proven results in reducing violence against animals and among people (Faver, 2010)

The 4 Essential Components to Humane Education

Acquire Knowledge

Seek out accurate information from a variety of sources in order to make informed decisions.

Think Deeply

Use curiosity, creativity and critical thinking when considering opposing or conflicting views. Remember that two (or more) things can be true at the same time.

Make Compassionate, Responsible Choices

While some ideas and behaviors can be understandable, they are not always acceptable. And what works now may not be sustainable for long. We must use reverence, respect and responsibility to effectively confront challenges.

Focus on Solutions

Many challenges cannot be solved with one simple action—and that’s okay. Identifying smaller, actionable steps can help us persevere towards long-term solutions. If solving a problem feels impossible, what resources are needed in order to make it plausible? If change can’t happen now, what steps should we take to make it happen in the future?

What does Humane Education Mean to Hand2Paw?

Hand2Paw uses these core components in our programs to create a high-impact learning environment focused on compassion, justice and kindness. Through animal-assisted interventions, our youth and animals are able to support each other, develop empathy and build positive socialization skills.

Humane education lessons enable our youth to develop coping skills that can help reduce violence and aggression and create a more peaceful world.

Additional Resources

Free Humane Education Teaching Resources—HEART

Humane and Prosocial Education Online Courses—Academy of Prosocial Learning

Coffee & Connect Webinars—Association of Professional Humane Educators (APHE)

Humane Education Youth Programs—St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center

Additional Humane Education Resources—Animals & Society Institute