The importance of humane education
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2010:
The importance of humane education by Wu Tianyu
Among the few nations which have almost every type of
ecosystem, from tropical rainforest to desert to steppe, China has
great natural bioversity, including such species unique to China as
giant pandas, 19 varieties of pheasant, three golden monkeys,
Przewalski’s Horse, Przewalski’s gazelle, wild yaks, and Tibetan
China also breeds 1 billion pigs, 10 billion chickens, and
200 million cattle each year-more than any other nation.
In addition, China breeds more wildlife in captivity than
any other nation.
Even by the lowest recent estimates, Chinese people also
keep more pets than any other nation: two to seven times more pet
dogs, and more pet cats than dogs.
Yet our wildlife, our farm animals, and even our pets are
often badly treated. Lacking animal welfare legislation, China is in
this sense behind more than 110 other nations. Animals suffer from
low status in China because the national education system does
nothing to promote animal welfare.
When we understand the relationship between humans and
animals, it is clear that treating animals with compassion is
essential to fostering human virtue.
The more civilized a society, the wider is its scope of
care. The moral shortcomings of a nation cannot be overcome through
economic development and scientific advances. This requires
enlightenment and education. Therefore, it is essential to integrate
humane education into the Chinese educational system. China has more
students than any other nation. This means that China has huge
potential to promote humane values through education, from
kindergarten to university. When humane education is a part of most
people’s education, most people will recognize the importance of
treating animals in an ethical manner, and will support legislation
Wu Tianyu founded Animal Rescue Beijing in 1987, and
established the China University Union for the Protection of Animals
in 2009. CUUPA, now including 110 chapters at 110 universities in
six provinces, advocates the integration of humane education into
the Chinese curriculum, and promotes the passage of animal welfare
legislation in China.