Humane Education Programme

A pioneering programme to reduce levels of violence and abuse in South Africa and other countries, and to bring forth future generations who are compassionate, caring and inspired to create a better world – for animals and humans.

We can continue to pluck people from a raging torrent or we can fix the bridge they are falling off.  We would rather fix the bridge and, in the animal welfare context, that means educating children about farm animals and, indeed, all animals, awakening in our children their natural empathy, so that the cycle of abuse is interrupted.  The reasons for humane education in our classrooms are compelling:

  • Animal cruelty is a serious antisocial behaviour that may help identify troubled youth and dysfunctional families.
  • Studies suggest that half of all children in South Africa have been exposed to animal abuse, and one-fifth have perpetrated it.
  • Animal cruelty is a symptom of psychological conduct disorder that can lead to inhibition or distortion of empathy.
  • Animal abuse is linked to bullying, juvenile delinquency, adult violent crimes and other nonviolent offences. Animal cruelty can be a marker of family violence.
  • Ending animal abuse is an important step in ending all violence.

Humane Education was introduced in the Greyton area in 2015 by another NPO started by our founder, Nicola Vernon, Greyton Transition Town.  With funding from Humane Society International, the programme grew to encompass all six schools and all 2500 school age children in the valley comprising the four villages of Bereaville, Vorstekraal, Genadendal and Greyton.  Teachers saw improvements in behaviour, more focused children and, ultimately, improved grades.

The two main champions of the programme, Nicola and the President of Humane Society International, Andrew Rowan, then left their posts, Nicola to focus on the sanctuary and Andrew to set up a new NPO, Wellbeing International.  The two are now fundraising to set up the programme for sustainability so that, working in conjunction with the Department of Education, it can be rolled out nationwide.  The programme continues to be delivered by one part-time environmental/humane educator but the sanctuary would like to provide at least three qualified full time educators to fully implement the programme within the curriculum in the local schools.  We aim to team up with a university to monitor and assess the programme and its impact as it unfolds.  Our next step would then be to help teacher training institutions to incorporate humane education into their curriculum for student teachers.

Greyton Farm Sanctuary Humane Education Programme

We have no doubt that the abuse and ill treatment of animals in our area will reduce significantly as cohorts of children exposed to this teaching grow up and start making compassionate decisions about the animals in their care and in the wider community.

What they are saying about the Humane and Environmental Education Programme

Greyton Farm Sanctuary Humane Education Programme

“Since Humane Education was introduced to our school there’s been a big change in our students. I can see that our children are generally calmer. There are still incidents with bullying and other issues, but even those problems are getting less and less. If you look at their behaviour now compared to a couple of years ago there is a huge difference. Our children don’t always have good role models at home, that’s why it’s so good that we can give this kind of teaching at school.”

~ Simon Spielman, Principal LR Schmidt Primary School

“I volunteered at Greyton Farm Sanctuary for two months in 2016 and I was impressed about the work they are leading, particularly on Humane Education at schools and in the community. 

The team is absolutely committed to the HE purposes and qualified to develop long-term programs in these matters. The strategies they are using clearly enhance children’s awareness regarding human rights and animal protection, and also give them tools to put in action values such as how to live with compassion.  

The results couldn’t be better. I witnessed children’s enchantment with the humane education activities and the change of their behavior in relation to themselves, colleagues and animals. The impacts on the community were also relevant and the team is very interested in measuring the changes and impacts of their program.  I strongly recommend this work.”

Prof. Dr Patricia Silva Leme, PhD in Education, University of Sao Paolo

Prof. Patricia Silva Leme (Pazu) University of Sao Paolo with Eric
Greyton Farm Sanctuary Humane Education Programme

“I was part of the Humane Education Training on 4 and 5 July 2016 and it was an eye opener for me.  I learned so much and I’m aware of how animals are treated BEFORE they become our meal(s). 

I feel it (Humane Education) is relevant, needed, and in line with our CAPS curriculum.  I have already reported on it to our Head Office and hope to set up a meeting between the presenters and the Senior Curriculum Specialist early in 2017.

I will ensure that this part of the Curriculum is implemented in our schools in the Overberg Education District and I will invite the Presenters to my meetings with Teachers so that the training can be rolled out throughout the District.  I hope to see the next level of this training soon.”

~ Edith Wynne Trollip, Subject Advisor, Western Cape Government, Dept of Education

“The children really enjoyed the lesson about battery chickens because they got to go outside and see actual chickens! It’s so much easier for them to learn like this, when they are participating in hands-on activities. They learn a lot, and I would love to see more of this kind of teaching in our school.”

~ Teacher Crystal, Grade 3, Uitkyk Primary School

Greyton Farm Sanctuary Humane Education Programme

“I enjoyed meeting the chickens, and learning about batteries. I think chickens are uncomfortable in batteries, and that people should let them roam free.”

~ Marcus, Uitkyk Grade 3

“We were learning about chickens, I liked it because we learned how chickens are treated. I don’t like they way they are treated in batteries, I’d like to see that change.” 

~ Lucretia, Gr 3 Uitkyk

“I did learn about a battery chicken that’s kept in a very small cage and how the eggs roll down a wire and get taken to the shops. I don’t like that the chickens are treated like this, you can put them in a big enclosure and they can still be safe but not in a cage.” 

~ Joshua, Gr 3 Uitkyk

Greyton Farm Sanctuary Humane Education Programme