RSPCA wants animal welfare taught to schoolchildren in Bedfordshire
The RSPCA wants animal welfare to be taught in school as 30% of children in the East of England have seen animal abuse online.
The animal welfare charity has revealed that from January to June this year there were 16 animal cruelty incidents on social media in Bedfordshire reported to the RSPCA, compared to 41 last year and 38 in 2016.
The RSPCA has more than 400 online incidents of cruelty and neglect in the East of England reported to it each year.
Young children are being exposed to horrific incidents of animal suffering online in ways previous generations have not experienced.
The RSPCA is launching Generation Kind, an education and prevention programme aimed at children to teach them about respect for animals and how to care for them. There are nine projects within the programme.
Chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “The number of children seeing animal abuse online is shocking - the current generation of children are witnessing horrifying animal cruelty and neglect through channels which simply didn’t exist for previous generations.
“The risk for children growing up in the 21st century is that frequent and casual exposure to animal abuse will desensitise them and may even make it seem acceptable.
“Animals need us now more than ever and we want to grow a new generation of young people who care, who are informed and who want to do their best for animals.
“This is why we are launching Generation Kind - an ambitious education programme targeting school children, children in care, young offenders or those at risk of offending and other disadvantaged young people. Central to this is a new campaign to get animal welfare taught in all schools.”