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What is Social Emotional Learning and Humane Education?

Social emotional learning and humane education shares with students how to accept and fulfill their responsibilities to companion animals, such as cats and dogs and all forms of animal life. It explains the consequences of irresponsible behavior and encourages people to see the value of all living things.

Over the past few decades, our society has become increasingly aware of the connections between animal abuse and violence against people. Therefore, the need to promote kindness and empathy through effective humane education in our communities is greater than ever. 

Furthermore, encouraging a deeper consideration of the humane choices available to us in our daily lives will lessen animal suffering and create a more peaceful world.

With the right knowledge and resources, anyone can become a (SEL) and humane educator. Many community education facilitators work on a volunteer basis, often in partnership with a local animal shelter. Other educators represent animal welfare charities, school teachers, camp counselors, scout leaders, even parents can include (SEL) and humane learning in their own home.

An effective program encompasses:

  • Sound educational methods

  • Clear goals and objectives

  • Accurate information

  • An atmosphere of openness and acceptance

  • Opportunities for critical thinking


Fourteen states in the U.S. have laws that address humane education and/or treatment of animals in varying forms in public schools.

  1. California 51540 SEC 233-233.5

  2. Florida 233.09

  3. Illinois (105 ILCS 5/27-13.1-14-15-18)

  4. Louisiana 17:266

  5. Maine Chapter 111-20 1221

  6. Massachusetts Chapter 272 SEC 80G

  7. New Hampshire 644:8-C

  8. New Jersey Title 18A 18A:35-4.1

  9. New York 809 S 810

  10. North Dakota 

  11. Oregon15-38-11

  12. Pennsylvania 15-1514

  13. Washington RCW 28A.230.020

  14. Wisconsin 14.16.1

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