Re-examining the Human-Nonhuman Animal Relationship Through Humane Education

  • Maria Helena SaariEmail author
Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


In the time of the Anthropocene, the human species’ destructive effect on the planet and other nonhuman species is evident. The socialization process of children plays a significant role in the preservation of a speciesist Western society, as the exploitation, captivity, and instrumental use of nonhuman animals are normalized through the reproduction of speciesist messages in the educational setting, through children’s media and our language use, which all reinforce the idea of nonhuman animals as the other. Speciesism, the underlying ideology that excludes nonhuman animals from the sphere of moral concern and legal protection, is dependent on its reproduction, just as other dominant ideologies. The exploitation of nonhuman animals and human-nonhuman animal hierarchy is further normalized through environmental education and welfare education and the notion of the humane use of nonhuman animals. Can our treatment of nonhuman animals be characterized as humane? What does it mean to be humane? This chapter examines how humane education can refute speciesist messages, as it offers children the tools to identify and critically assess interconnected webs of oppression and thus re-examine the human-nonhuman relationship.


Humane education Speciesism Human-animal relationship 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Pauliina Rautio
    • 1
  • Tracy Young
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  2. 2.Swinbourne UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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