Sun, Nov 04, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Animal activists show outrage at ‘cruel’ textbooks

By Chung Li-hua and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Animal welfare groups yesterday urged the Ministry of Education to rectify a number of concepts they found in school textbooks.

Despite the ministry having included animal rights and animal welfare in school curricula, activists said they still found examples of cruelty to animals, such as “goldfish scooping,” in school textbooks, as well as the inappropriate promotion of “animals performing circus acts” in some math test questions.

Wan Chen-chen (萬宸禎) — the head of the Education Project Section for the group Life Conservation Association (LCA) — cited as an example a Chinese textbook for fourth-graders in which one chapter deals with the topic of stray animals in a discussion entitled: “Finding a New Home for a Puppy.”

The chapter gave schoolchildren the erroneous idea that taking a lost puppy to an animal shelter is the correct way to help find new homes for stray animals, he said.

“The book fails to mention that after placing an animal in a shelter, puppies are put to death within 12 days,” he said.

Lan Yu-ching (藍瑜卿), a teacher at Bali Elementary School in New Taipei City (新北市), added that in classes such as Science and Nature, as well as Lifestyle and Technology, lessons largely focus on the basic understanding of animals, but have neglected to teach students to think about and examine issues connected to animal rights and animal welfare.

“Cruel activities, such as “goldfish scooping,” are cited in some textbooks and in lessons for elementary-school children and kindergartens. This gives the wrong impression to children and actually encourages them to abuse animals,” she said.

Wan added that in some elementary-school textbooks that address the topic of insects, limited information was presented about how to breed insects at home.

These teaching materials did not explain how the insects were captured or that these actions could be destructive to insect habitats and to the environment, he said, adding that information on the proper methods for raising insects and how to best observe their behavior were also absent.

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