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Education Code of the
California Department of Education
Americans have long recognized the need for kindness toward animals. In acknowledgment of this need, the California Department of Education has included in its Education Code a requirement that students be taught to view animals with compassion and to grant them the same dignity they would human beings. Section 233.5(a) of the code reads in part:
Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of the pupils the principles of morality, truth, justice, patriotism, and a true comprehension of the rights, duties, and dignity of American citizenship, and the meaning of equality and human dignity, including the promotion of harmonious relations, kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures.
This farsighted code regards the humane treatment of animals as one aspect of the broader ethic of good citizenship—the responsibility of each of us toward others who live in our society, including the animals with whom we share our environment. The code also understands that when we fail to treat animals kindly and responsibly, we undermine not only their rights as living creatures but our own dignity as human beings.