Classroom Chick-Hatching Projects Teach Bad Lessons
“Ethical questions are raised when unwanted animals are brought
into this world, diminishing our sense of the inherent value of the
living creature. The positive lesson that can come from observing and
respecting normal parenting of adult birds for their future offspring
is lost. In these school hatching projects, any sense of parent birds
carefully preparing nests and tending their future babies is lost
because the eggs are hatched in a piece of equipment. The surviving
chicks are usually doomed to a life expectancy of a few days spent
miserably. Young birds need nurturing and rest. They are difficult to
feed in the classroom and can suffer starvation and dehydration that is
not even noticed.”
– Dr. F. Barbara Orlans, Senior Research Fellow, Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
On April 18, United Poultry Concerns received an email exchange between the mother of a young child and his teacher in Maryland. Learning the teacher is hatching “intentionally orphaned babies” in her son’s classroom, she implored the teacher and the principal:
“As a mother myself, I feel pain for these chicks and their mothers who are separated to become an experiment for school children. I would encourage you not to hatch chicks and instead have a conversation with the children about why it is important for animals to be treated with kindness and respect for their families.”
The teacher responded dismissively about teachers “hosting” the motherless chicks in these projects:
“Thank you for reaching out. I understand your concerns. To answer some of your questions, please view the program website: RentACoop. I’ve shared some of your questions, and I’ve had positive discussions with teachers who have hosted chicks in their classroom in years past. I hope this information helps.”
What Can I Do?
If you have a child or know of children whose teacher, school or school district is planning to hatch chicks, ducklings or other birds in mechanical incubators, please object. These projects abuse animals and take advantage of children’s ignorance. Please read and share our information with educators and parents. Schools are more sensitive to parental criticisms than to other sources of criticism. Parent-teacher meetings provide opportunities to publicize this issue and enlist parental support to end these projects in favor of humane education.
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Hatching Good Lessons: Alternatives To School Hatching Projects
Melanie is a 3rd grader who is excited about a chick hatching project in her class at school. The project seemed like a good idea at first, but unexpected problems arise and the whole class learns a lesson in compassion. When the project is over, Melanie adopts one of the chicks she names Henny. A Home for Henny explores the challenges and concerns with school hatching projects while evoking the lively personality of Henny and her loving relationship with Melanie. Grades K-4
Do you have elementary school-age children at home? Nieces or Nephews? Friends with children? A Home for Henny is the perfect story to teach children compassion for chickens and why chick-hatching programs don't belong in our schools. Donate a copy (or several!) to your local elementary schools and the children's section of your local libraries.
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