By Dr. Robin Ganzert
Building a kinder, gentler world begins with teaching our children the importance of compassion for all living things. To help do this, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, launched “Be Kind to Animals Week®” in 1915. Since then, generations of Americans have come together each May to voice their concern for and improve the wellness, welfare, and well-being of our animal friends. “Be Kind to Animals Week®” is the oldest commemorative week in U.S. history, and with the support of such champions as Shirley Temple, Eleanor Roosevelt, Carol Burnett, Betty White, tough guys John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, and even Porky Pig, we have been able to reach millions of children each year with critical messages of caring, compassion and hope.
This year, American Humane is working to enlist the nation’s children, their parents, and teachers in a new Compassion Movement to address key challenges facing the world’s creatures. During 2017’s “Be Kind to Animals Week®” (May 7-13), American Humane is challenging 1 million people of all ages to take our “Kindness Pledge,” asking them to do four simple things to protect and better the lives of animals. This includes:
- Improving conditions for some 10 billion farm animals by seeking out humanely raised foods with the American Humane Certified™ seal
- Helping more of the millions of animals abandoned each year by adopting pets from shelters
- Supporting the humane treatment of 100,000 animal actors who entertain, educate and charm us in film and television each year by looking for the “No Animals Were Harmed®” end-credit
- Responsibly cultivating understanding and caring for the many endangered and disappearing species of the world by taking their children to Humane Certified™ zoos, aquariums, and conservation centers. A list of such institutions may be found at www.HumaneConservation.org.
In teaching children empathy and kindness toward animals, we also teach children compassion for each other. I hope every American will join us in celebrating “Be Kind to Animals Week” and making a difference for all the creatures of the Earth – not just during these several days, but all year round.
You can find the pledge, curricula designed to build empathy in children, and ways to celebrate “Be Kind to Animals Week®” at www.Kindness100.org.And to learn more about American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877, please visit www.americanhumane.org.