This study evaluated the impact of children's participation in a five-day humane education summer-camp program on the quality of their relationships with and treatment of companion animals. We measured changes from pre- to post-program in 77 children (50 girls, 27 boys) aged 6–12 years. The program promoted positive interactions between children and animals in natural settings, with a focus on either companion animals or farm/forest animals. The Companion Animal Bonding Scale, the Pet Friendship Scale, the Comfort from Companion Animal Scale, the Children's Treatment of Animal Questionnaire, and a drawing task were administered to children prior to the beginning of the camp on day one and again at the end of day five. Overall, the results showed that after five days of humane education in summer camp, children reported sharing significantly closer bonds and friendships with their companion animals. These results were more pronounced for girls versus boys, among younger (aged 6 to 8 years) versus older (aged 9 to 12 years) children, and among children receiving the companion-animal versus farm/forest-animal curriculum. Older boys reported significantly lower scores on the humane treatment of their companion animals, compared with younger boys, and both older and younger girls. Comparisons by type of curriculum also suggested that the humane education curriculum that focused on farm/forest animals resonated more with the girls versus the boys. The implications for camp- and classroom- based humane education programs are discussed.
|Cite this work||
Researchers should cite this work as follows: