Delhi Schools Use PETA’s Compassionate Citizen Humane-Education Programme, Encouraged to Go Leather-Free

For Immediate Release:
25 June 2015

Puja Mahajan; [email protected]
Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

Education Officials Take Steps to Protect Animals and the Environment

Delhi – Schoolchildren throughout Delhi are now equipped to receive a daily lesson in compassion. That’s because after meeting with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India last year, the Delhi Directorate of Education shared a circular with all government schools directing them to use PETA’s humane-education programme, Compassionate Citizen, with young children. PETA India has now distributed the programme to all Delhi government schools to use with children ages 8 to 12. The Directorate of Education has also forwarded a circular from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to school authorities encouraging them to consider using canvas, instead of leather, in school uniforms.

Compassionate Citizen is PETA India’s version of PETA US’ internationally recognised humane-education programme, Share the World, which is designed to teach children to be kind to animals. Compassionate Citizen has been endorsed by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and the CBSE. States and union territories already using the programme include Chandigarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.

“It’s said that when you teach a child to be kind to a mouse, you do as much for the child as you do for the mouse”, says PETA India senior education coordinator Puja Mahajan. “Compassion for animals and respect for the environment are vital to reduce violence in society at large and ensure our own good health and well-being.”

Most children naturally feel concern and affection for animals but learn cruelty from society and often lose sight of their compassion. A lack of respect for other species can translate into insensitivity and cruelty towards fellow humans, too. It is well documented by psychologists, sociologists and law-enforcement officials that violence against animals by children is often an early warning sign of future acts of violence towards humans. Humane education can help ensure a future in which animals, the environment they live in and humans are treated respectfully.

The AWBI has also asked all states and union territories to shift to non-animal, environmentally friendly options for school uniforms. As PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – has documented, cows and other animals used for their skin often sustain broken bones or suffocate on their way to slaughter, and those who survive the trip are then often hacked at with dull knives in full view of their companions. Turning the skins of cows, buffalo, sheep and goats into leather also requires massive amounts of toxic chemicals, and runoff from leather tanneries poisons local rivers and streams. The hundreds of leather tanneries in Kanpur are some of the largest sources of pollution of the Ganges, emitting serious pollutants which are injurious to both human and animal health. Chandigarh, Bihar, Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have already taken steps to sway schools away from using leather in their uniforms.

The Compassionate Citizen programme consists of a teacher’s guide, reproducible activity sheets, a reading unit with true animal stories and a 28-minute video. It is available from PETA India for free to any teacher who wishes to use it and can be ordered by writing to [email protected].

Copies of the communication from the Delhi Directorate of Education are available upon request. For more information, please visit