by Michelle Johnston
Large numbers of mistreated and stray/street animals is, unfortunately, just a symptom of a greater problem; a lack of education and understanding of animal welfare and environmental appreciation. One of the major factors that set Darwin Animal Doctors apart is that we don’t just treat this symptom by providing free, accessible veterinary care, but we also address the root cause through education.
Whilst there is value in just spaying and neutering large numbers of animals, this alone leaves communities without any understanding of why this was done and can even develop mistrust. We devote a lot of time and energy into working alongside a community to develop understanding that will provoke a long-term, generational change in thinking whilst providing the veterinary tools communities need in order to access necessary solutions.
Over the years, we have gone into schools to speak to students, held community education events, developed educational posters and banners, worked with youth groups, and developed volunteer and job positions to train community members. During this time we have developed a variety of lesson plans and educational tools, including the development of our very own graphic novel; “A Piggy’s Tale”. Throughout the last year, we have been combining and re-editing many of these educational tools and programs to develop a comprehensive, full year education curriculum.
Now we are very excited to announce that it is here and ready to go!
This curriculum is complete with assessments, marking rubrics and lesson plans and couples with commonly taught school subjects to avoid adding add any pressure on teachers’ valuable time in the classroom. The program develops students’ compassion for people and animals, teaches students about the needs of a pet and the responsibilities of having a pet in the family, introduces students to the balance of ecosystems in our environment and how important they are to protect, explains common environmental issues and achievable solutions (such as spaying and neutering your pets) and emphasises the importance of training you pet and safety around animals – all through classroom games, presentations, self-directed research and, our very own board game and – of course – the amazing “A Piggy’s Tale” graphic novel.
Currently, we are in progress to roll out the program country-wide in Belize and in schools in the US. With requests for the program from two different projects in Mexico, to the Dominican Republic, Madagascar, Sumatra, Ecuador, and more flooding in, we are going to be very busy implementing our Humane Education Curriculum around the world.
If you are looking to educate your community on how to look after and care for animals, the environment and appreciate an ecosystem as a whole, please feel free to contact us to begin discussing if our education curriculum will suit your needs.