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Veggie, the next generation
Posted 1 March 2005
Getting the vegetarian message across to youngsters is one of the most important tasks of the Animal Aid Education Department.
The phrase 'the future is in their hands' may be a cliché, but it is also very true. It is only by influencing the attitudes and behaviour of today's youngsters that we will create a better future for animals.
A large proportion of students first learn about vegetarianism in Food & Technology lessons. GCSE examination boards require them to know about the needs of people on a vegetarian diet (OCG exam board); have an understanding of the influence of different cultures on the design of food products (Edexcel exam board); and to consider the wider moral and environmental implications (AQA exam board). Topics frequently studied include vegetarian nutrition, alternative sources of protein, the food preferences of various cultures and the different methods used to rear farmed animals.
Countering the meat industry propaganda
The British Meat Education Service (BMES) - the education wing of the Meat and Livestock Commission - takes every opportunity to promote animal products in schools. It supplies a whole raft of free education resources to Food Technology teachers, including videos, posters, study packs and worksheets. Its website claims that the organisation is 'committed to being the most innovative, informative and trustworthy industrial sponsor of food-related education in Britain'.
Even though we cannot compete with the financial resources of the BMES, we do our best to counter its pro-meat propaganda. Last year we mailed out to more than 2,000 Food Technology teachers, offering school talks on vegetarianism, plus a wide variety of free resources. We had a massive response. Our network of volunteer school speakers was kept busy giving more than 200 school talks to classes of various ages and sizes. Also, hundreds of copies of student factsheets, information booklets, posters and wall charts were requested and supplied.
Our ground-breaking new video
For Veggie Month this year we will again be mailing out to thousands of Food Technology teachers offering school talks and resources. We will also be promoting our exciting, innovative new educational video, Eat This!, scheduled for release soon. It examines how food is produced and why some people choose to adopt a humane, meat-free diet. It will be supplied free to schools in a package that will also contain teachers' background notes and a student activities booklet. The latter will include worksheets and lesson plans. There will also be a dedicated Eat This! website, where students will be able to examine issues in more detail.
- To find out more about the work of the Animal Aid Education Department, see our Education web pages.
- If you are able to display one of our new Healthy Eating - the Veggie Way education posters in your local library, work canteen or school dinning hall, please contact us and we'll send you one.
- If you are interested in becoming one of our school speakers, telephone Mark or Ann at Animal Aid headquarters or complete our online form.
If you would like to be notified once the Eat This! video is available, simply subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.
Selected resources are available free to schools during Veggie Month - for more details see the education section.
This article by Mark White is reproduced from the Spring 2005 issue of Outrage, the quarterly magazine sent to all Animal Aid members. To find out more about Animal Aid membership click here.