Six animal-friendly activities to keep your children occupied this school holiday
Encouraging healthy respect for animals develops a child's social values.
While the end of a school term or impromptu public holiday may feel like bliss to your children, the idea of long boring days, kids running amok, and spending too much time in front of video games may not feel so blissful to the parent.
Home for the holidays? Don't fret, but plan ahead to include activities that teach a sense of responsibility; and think twice before heading off to the zoo, a circus, or a facility that encourages direct human interaction such as riding an elephant or ostrich, or petting a wild or farmed animal.
Children have a natural affinity for animals, but entertainment that focuses around restricting the natural behaviours or movement of the animal or where the animal behaves in a way that it wouldn't naturally, such as animal circuses, the petting of wildlife, and most zoos, fosters an irresponsible behaviour towards animals.
These types of facilities add no constructive education value to the public and little conservation value for the animals. Children and adults are not taught to view these animals as wild, complex animals that are not suited for captivity.
Captive wild animals are unable to perform natural behaviours and enjoy normal social bonds. They are deprived of everything that is natural and normal to them, and captive breeding does not diminish their needs for natural situations. By viewing wild animals in captivity, children and adults are taught that it acceptable to cage and tame wild animals, and that their welfare is not as important as the entertainment of people. Remember that after you go home, that animal remains in that cage, for the rest of its life.
Weekends and public holidays offer a great opportunity to instil positive, lifelong values in your children, outside of the classroom.