Why We Need Humane Education: We Can't Just Legislate Ourselves Into a Better World

Recently The Guardian reported that many chicken farmers in the European Union plan to "flout a ban on conventional battery cages" that's set to come into effect on January 1, 2012. Considered one of the most significant pieces of animal welfare legislation thus far, the ban has given egg producers 12 years to comply with the new (minimally better) standards. And some of them have chosen not to make the required changes, which is affecting not only the welfare of the hens, and of the people who want less cruel options, but of the producers who have chosen to comply.

This story is yet another example of the challenges of trying to legislate a better world. (I've written about this challenge before.) While creating laws meant to help protect people, animals, and the planet is essential and important, without the will (and willingness) of The People behind them, these laws often prove ineffective and impotent, especially when you're affecting someone's chosen livelihood.

This is more evidence of the importance of humane education. When we bring accurate information, critical and creative thinking, a sense of respect and responsibility, and the ease and convenience of positive choices to people of all ages, then we enable people to make daily choices -- and to nurture, support, and create systems -- that do the most good and least harm for all. Humane education helps create critical mass for manifesting a just, compassionate, healthy world for all. That's not something that simply passing a law can accomplish on its own. It must be paired with the passion, free will, and positive action of the people involved.

~ Marsha

Image courtesy of Farm Sanctuary via Creative Commons.

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