After receiving over R130,000 from Humane Society International in New York to start the roll out of a humane education (HE) programme we now have two members of staff working with the schools and within the wider community. Annalisa du Gard delivers the humane education programme in schools and Tarryn Van Wyk, a veterinary assistant, supports the programme within the community. Workshops have been organised for local teachers to help them deliver the programme to their children. Stock holders in the community are being supported with workshops and resources to enable them to rear their animals with more compassion and to show a better example to the children.
A number of practical issues arise when teaching HE, notably that children, becoming aware of the need to care for and be kind to their animals, are then distressed when they realise that the animals in their family are perhaps not being cared for to the standard they are learning in school. With winter on the way, some children were concerned about the warmth and comfort of pets kept outside. Annalisa had the idea to stuff hessian coffee bags which are a waste product of the coffee industry. Durable and easily cleaned, the bags are sold to GTT for just R10 from the coffee roasting emporium of former Greyton resident Jake Easton. A sponsor stepped forward to cover the cost of 25 bags and the children are stuffing them with straw or fabric offcuts to make comfortable beds for their pets.
We have no doubt that other issues will arise which will be challenging to address such as dogs being kept on chains and backyard farm animals being kept in poor conditions. Tarryn van Wyk is now on hand, and working alongside Greyton Animal Welfare Society with the community, to respond to each and every challenge and help all generations to be kind and caring towards their animals. As Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’ Never before has there been a greater need for the awakening of empathy and compassion in the children who will inherit this earth.