PAWS encourages teachers and school administrators to think creatively about ways to deliver their curriculum instead of relying upon old methods of teaching. Did you know that Washington is one of 12 states to require humane education in public schools? Washington's law, RCW 28A.230.020 states, "All teachers shall stress the importance of the cultivation of manners, the fundamental principles of honesty, honor, industry and economy, the minimum requisites for good health…and the worth of kindness to all living creatures and the land."
As awareness of the ethical, human health, animal cruelty and environmental ramifications of dissection increase, there has been a national trend toward more humane methods of studying science. In at least 13 states, student choice policies have been enacted. These policies guarantee students the right to educational experiences that do not include the use of dissection specimens. Fortunately there is a wealth of safe, affordable, effective alternatives available to students and teachers. The New England Anti-Vivisection Society (www. neavs.org) and the Humane Society of the United States (www.hsus.org) even offer free or low-cost teaching tools and lesson plans.
Before making a companion animal—such as a rabbit, hamster or reptile—part of your classroom, carefully consider the needs of the animal and your learning objectives. For example: