Caring for Those Amazing Animals

6, 7, 8

Discuss and evaluate beliefs and attitudes about the treatment of animals, especially applied to sports and entertainment. We explore how laws and beliefs concerning animal welfare affect personal responses to animal treatment. They will determine how these laws, attitudes and beliefs affect the manner in which performing animals are trained and treated.

PrintOne 45 Minute Session
  • identify and articulate how differing attitudes and beliefs affect the use of animals insports and entertainment.
  • investigate the Animal Welfare Act and Animal Cruelty Laws in their state.
  • copies of handout Animal Cruelty Cases or Not? Cut apart



  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Reflect that people have different opinions on issues such as animal welfare and animal cruelty. Today they will be asked to serve as “jurors” and decide three different cases to determine if these cases should be considered animal cruelty cases or not.

  2. Randomly distribute the cases cut from the handout below. In groups, they read their cases and reach consensus as to whether or not their case could be considered one of animal cruelty or not. Allow 10-15 minutes for this deliberation.

  3. Have each jury assign a spokesperson who will read the case to the rest of the class and announce their “verdict.” Between readings allow 2-3 minutes for the whole group to respond to the jury’s ruling.

    Note: There may not be any one “right” answer in each of these cases so more than likely there will be some differing of opinions. Allow some time for the learners to appropriately express these opinions.

  4. Discuss the handout Three Basic Attitudes/Beliefs About Animals. Read each “attitude/belief” together and note that while these attitudes/beliefs are clearly divided into three distinct opinions, many variations of these attitudes/beliefs exist. Ask them to reflect on which of these attitudes and beliefs most closely represented the stance their “jury” took in offering their opinion concerning their assigned case.

  5. Talk about the role of “law” mentioned in each of these areas. Explain to the class that while laws concerning animal usage and treatment vary from state to state, every state now has laws in place that address issues of animal cruelty and animal welfare.

  6. Assign one half of the group to research and identify ten of their state’s Animal Cruelty Laws. Have the other half of the group research ten facts concerning the Animal Welfare Act. Everyone is to be prepared to share their findings during the start of the next session.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss why some animals and humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Identify civil society organizations that protect and speak for minority viewpoints.