Should animal welfare be taught in Irish schools?

It has been successfully trialled at Educate Together schools

Should animal welfare be taught in Irish schools?

Poppy (11) George (5) and Heidi (8) Hackett, with Penny their Whippet and Catherine Martin - Green Party Deputy Leader | Image: ISPCA

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) is calling on the Government to introduce an animal welfare module into the primary school curriculum.

It follows a successful trial introduced in several Educate Together schools over two years ago.

The organisation says the proposal could reduce cases of cruelty and neglect involving animals.

ISPCA CEO, Dr Andrew Kelly, says: "The ISPCA believes that education is key to better animal welfare and responsible pet ownership and should be included in every primary school curriculum across Ireland."

Last year, over 16,000 calls were made to the National Animal Cruelty Helpline resulting in 3,200 investigations, 995 animals seized or surrendered and 32 prosecutions.

Poppy (11) George (5) and Heidi (8) Hackett – children of Pippa Hackett - Green Party spokesperson on animal welfare, with Penny their Whippet | Image: ISPCA

Dr Kelly says: "The vast majority of animal welfare cases (were) due to a lack of understanding of animal welfare needs and pet owners legal responsibility under the animal health and welfare act.

"This is where improved animal welfare education can play an import role in cutting those numbers. A simple measure like this could improve the welfare of tens of thousands of animals in the future."

The proposal is being supported by the Green Party.

The party’s deputy leader, Catherine Martin, said: “The welfare of animals is an important aspect of our society, and if we can educate our children from an early age how best to look after their pets, then we are teaching them some important moral values which they will hopefully nurture in other aspects throughout their lives.”

The ISPCA is calling on members of the public to sign a petition on the proposal.