RSPCA Cymru has launched its “most important campaign in a generation”, which aims to transform modern-day society’s treatment of animals for generations to come.
Generation Kind is the RSPCA’s ambitious new programme, teaching children empathy and respect for animals, with the aim of preventing cruelty and neglect in the future.
The scheme’s launch comes amid the changing way children are being exposed to images of animal abuse through social media. RSPCA Cymru has revealed that more than 300 instances* of animal cruelty and neglect on social media in Wales are reported to it each year.
Instances looks set to rise this year, as 229 reports from sites including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, have already been received in the first six months.
The RSPCA has brought together a series of initiatives – including those in the classroom, support for teachers, programmes to support vulnerable looked-after and disadvantaged young people, and those targeted at youth offenders, with the ambition of creating a generation of individuals who are kind, compassionate and caring towards animals.
Via these programmes, the RSPCA hopes to reach two million children across Wales and England by 2030 and has now launched a petition calling for animal welfare to be taught in schools.
Rebecca Dunning, RSPCA education, training and development adviser, said: “The launch of Generation Kind is our most important campaign in a generation. We aim to roll-out a number of initiatives which could have a seismic impact in the way children and young people engage with animals, and feel empathy.
“The step change that could have in creating a compassionate, caring Wales will be hugely significant for society.
“We know we need to reach the next generation in a number of ways. Already, in Wales, we have had huge success with our Great Debate programme – heading into its fifth year. These events give schools the chance to debate animal welfare, while learning key lessons in citizenship at the heart of democracy here in Wales – the National Assembly.
“RSPCA Cymru also aims to increase take-up of ‘Compassionate Class’ in Wales – hopefully 30 percent of Wales’ primary schools by 2022; and to ensure more teachers in Wales’ schools are accessing our resources to bring animal welfare to life within the classroom. We’re also renewing our calls to see animal welfare taught in schools.
“Much of our work is targeted too – and schemes like ‘Paws 4 Change’ and ‘Wild Things’ target disadvantaged children, or those from deprived areas, to boost the esteem of young people, and offer unique opportunities to engage directly with animals.
“This all comes amid a worrying backdrop in Wales of rising RSPCA prosecutions – which are always a last resort for us. Instead, we always want to educate and work with people to nurture greater understanding and appreciation of animals, and their welfare. These ambitious projects aim to deliver a new generation that is kind and understanding to animals, and everyone.”