Teaching Kids to Respect Animal Life

Hi, Edahn

I have a very important question: at what age do you think should we have our kids acquainted with the horrors of animal agriculture? Thank you.

I DON'T THINK KIDS should be exposed to any horrors. Once they reach their teens, it's a different story. But I do advocate teaching kids about compassion and respect for life.

Animal farming view animals as products or goods and I think it's our job to make sure that we humanize (funny word) animals as much as possible. We have to create relationships between animals and kids so they feel close to them and personalize them. That's why we don't eat dogs or cats or horses. We form attachments to them. It's also the reason why we have wars. We dehumanize each other (i.e., objectify), become estranged from one another (geographically, intellectually, emotionally), and then have no problem destroying each other. That's why Gordon Allport, a very famous social psychologist, thought the answer to reducing intergroup violence was simply contact. Contact makes people interact and get to know one another, forming relationships and intimacy. It's the reason having community centers (and the urban planners who design them) are so critical today. Urban planning and overcrowding is a major problem today, and I think the primary reason we have so many random shootings. (I'll get off my soapbox now.)

There's a wonderful book called Why We Don't Eat Animals that is really phenomenal and sends the right message for kids: that animals have emotions and inflicting harm is wrong. I support that message 100%.

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