An estimated 25 percent of teachers keep animals as "pets" in classrooms. Many teachers bring animals into their classrooms with good intentions, like wanting to teach you and your classmates responsibility or teach you about the animals themselves. However, rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, frogs, snakes, fish, and other animals used as teaching "tools" are too often abused and neglected.
The following cases, which involve the abuse of animals in U.S. schools, were reported to PETA:
- A snake was stolen from his classroom enclosure and cooked alive inside a school's microwave.
- Two chinchillas were horribly beaten and left for dead.
- A rabbit in a daycare classroom showed symptoms of illness but was not taken to a veterinarian. He died without receiving care for his condition.
- Four pigs had an acidic chemical poured onto them, resulting in painful burns to their backs, ears, and necks.
- A lamb was stolen from a school agriculture building, spray-painted, duct-taped to the outside of the building, and left alone overnight in freezing temperatures.
Ever wonder what happens to your class "pet" on the weekends? What if a fire broke out? This would be deadly to an animal left alone in a classroom. And when the school year ends, these animals frequently end up in already-crowded shelters or at the homes of students who may not have the means or the knowledge to care for them.
Class "pets" can also cause serious health risks to you! Hamsters can transmit diseases, and you can get salmonella poisoning from handling reptiles. Do you suffer from asthma or allergies? If you do, you could be badly affected by some types of animals in your classroom.
If your school is keeping animalseither as "pets" or as teaching "tools"talk to the teacher, the administrator, and if necessary, the school board. Ask your school board to ban the use of animals in classrooms, for your safety and the safety of the animals.
You can learn about responsibility and animal behavior without the presence of animals in your classroom. There are far more constructive ways, like visiting an animal sanctuary, to learn about living beings than by holding them captive in hazardous and neglectful school environments.
Remember: The only teacher's pet in your classroom should be you!
For more ways that you can help animals, click here to order a free copy of The Kids' Guide to Animal Rights. Inside, you'll also find fun games, quizzes, and free stickers!