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E. Patterson-Kane1
1American Veterinary Medical Association, Animal Welfare Division, Schaumburg, USA
Emily Patterson-Kane, PhD
American Veterinary Medical Association 1931 N Meacham Rd Ste 100 Schaumburg IL 60173
Humane Education
Having established that animal abuse is commonly perpetrated by people who are not empathetic towards animals or who are anti-social, it is logical that preventive humane education programs are generally targeted towards correcting these defects.[1] There is evidence that programs of this type cause a measureable
increase in expressed empathy but longer-term effects on overt behavior are rarely studied and have not been demonstrated.[2][3] More generalized educational targets, such as teaching self-regulation and providing knowledge about animals and other cultures, may also be productive targets for educations.
A lack of information about the potential abuse motivations present or developing in a community may impair the match between the prevailing vulnerabilities and the forms of humane education provided. For example, children in environments where they are likely to have unavoidable adverse experiences, programs that focus on source of personal resilience may be important. Also where anti-social subculture are prevalent, targeted education may “immunized” children against internalizing these messages. Despite these disclaimers the existing well-designed forms of humane education are often good sources of prosocial role models information about animals and other bene cial features, and should be used whenever available.
Improved programs might be developed by employing valid screening and uniform approaches which start to place the response to cruelty more into a public health space. We are currently only beginning to standardized and validate approaches to even basic mental health categories such as psychopathy.[4] A number of scales to
assess animal abuse propensity are under development and showing promising results (e.g. ATTAS[5], AAPS[6])
Ultimately there needs to be a reversal of approach such that screening of the general population is positively motivated and aims to identify how children of all types can  nd their best success. For example children who need high energy or even aggressive activities should be given prosocial opportunities that meet these needs. And impulsive or unemotional children are given structured training to help them develop longer term prosocial goals--while also recognizing and building on each child’s particular strengths and talents.
In animal welfare there is a popular theory that refers to the umwelt of the animal[7]. It asserted that each animal
is made to engage with the environment in in a particular way and  ts is optimal environment like a key in the lock, with a seamless dialogue between stimulus, response, and satisfying outcome. The modern human environment tends to  t some idea of the “normal” human that often does not properly embrace human diversity. What
we need are environments that are not  xed, but are adaptable and adjustable, and where children and other people with changing needs are offered the best prosocial  t they can possibly have, including the availability of diverse subcultures and special-interest groups.
As a part of this process every effort needs to be made to reduce the unnecessary experience of adverse events, especially by children. But it should be recognized that many people develop extreme traits in what would generally be considered low stress environments. This may be because of the normative environment does
not meet their needs or they have extreme traits that
are innate or acquired very early in life. Generally well- adjusted families tend to under-react to the signs of a child with extreme traits beginning to struggle in a one- size- ts all world.
Some of the clearest examples of this come from children with callous-unemotional personalities who begin to display violence. Even without the shortcut
of emotional empathy there is growing evidence that children can learn to control impulsive motivations through a cognitive understanding their consequences, but this requires are very different style of teaching and parent than can be challenging for more neurotypical providers to learn. It involves creating explicit incremental lessons to acquire understandings that they themselves learned through very early and unconscious processes.
It is our cultural default to wait too long, tolerate too much, and then respond in punitive ways--triggered by the danger the individual now presents to others. This delayed-punitive response fosters continued denial of the warning signs in other at risk individuals. Positive
An Urban Experience

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