ALICE - Animals, Climate and Civic Education

ALICE (Animals, Climate and Civic Education) is a project funded by the European Commission that aims to educate about different facets of animal use and animals themselves. The project illustrates debates about ethical and economic contexts around the topic of animal rights and leaves it up to the addressees to form their own judgement.

The ALICE project aims to make teachers aware of the reasons, causes and consequences of the unjust and undignified treatment of animals, as well as the far-reaching effects of the current "use" of animals for humans and nature. The focus will be on ethical, legal, political, economic and social issues related to the "use" of animals. 

PROJECT COORDINATOR

Ronja Kummer
Research staff
Address
Callinstr. 20
30167 Hannover
Building
Ronja Kummer
Research staff
Address
Callinstr. 20
30167 Hannover
Building

PROJECT SUPERVISOR

Dr. Christoph Wolf
Senior Research Staff
Address
Callinstraße 20
30167 Hannover
Building
Room
208
Address
Callinstraße 20
30167 Hannover
Building
Room
208

PROJECT

In the German animal protection law (since 2002 as a constitutional goal in the German Basic Law) is anchored that animals may not be inflicted suffering without comprehensible reason. Animal rights activists show with recordings from animal breeding, transports and slaughterhouses that these laws are poorly implemented. The worldwide growing representatives of a vegan lifestyle as well as animal ethicists state that in western societies there is no reason at all to "use" animals for human interests (mostly pleasure and enjoyment). The "use" of animals as material objects for food, clothing, testing of cosmetic products as well as for pleasure (zoo, circus) has obvious holistic negative effects, both of course on the animals themselves, as well as on the workers in corresponding sectors, as well as on the climate.

On the other hand, it is obvious that most people are not interested in causing animal suffering; the above-mentioned areas of animal use are traditional, socially sustained practices, the background and framework of which consumers are either actually not aware of or which are unquestioningly accepted and thus (possibly even unintentionally) reproduced. A lot of information about the conditions of animal use is accessible, but the willingness to confront these truths and to rethink one's own behavior, the consumption, is often low.

Poor animal welfare and precarious working conditions of workers in animal manufacturing companies, as well as climate change, are far too often not thought together with one's own consumption behavior. People are too seldom aware of the effect of their (consumer) behavior on these areas. At the same time, we live in close relationships with animals.

For about 20 years, philosophers, sociologists and psychologists have increasingly dealt with the question of how these ambivalences come about, are internalized, and are culturally sustained and reproduced. Also, the rather young field of Human-Animal-Studies has emerged in the social sciences and plays an important role for the contents of ALICE. One of the issues here is the increasing tension between animal personalization (e.g., the dog as man's best friend) versus animal objectification (the social practice of industrial animal use). Also relevant in these discourses is the notion of speciesism, which means discrimination against living beings on the basis of their species membership.

 

The goals of ALICE are:

  • The topics of animal use, animal welfare and animal rights find greater entry into classrooms.
  • Teachers use the materials created by experts to help them learn more about the political, legal, ethical, and economic conditions of animal suffering.
  • Teachers help their students think critically about the project topics, reflect on and discuss their own lifeworld approaches.
  • Teachers learn how to show their students ways to get involved in school, society and politics.
  • Students are involved in the production of the project results and experience their own self-efficacy.

RESULTS

Stay tuned!

This project is just staring. Stay tuned for upcoming results!

RESULT 1: GRAPHIC NOVELS

So-called farm animals, especially those kept and processed for our consumption, are faceless in our everyday lives. Through the corresponding attitude they are degraded to numbers within an unidentifiable mass. In order to show that (farm) animals do have a personality, an identity, feelings, empathy and intelligence, the project consortium, in collaboration with students from a school of graphic design, is developing comics that focus on precisely these characteristics of animals. The attempt is made to raise people's awareness and to encourage them to view (farm) animals more as individuals and less as mass-produced goods.

RESULT 2: PODCASTS

In order to enter into a discourse, to present areas of tension and thus to be able to look at the topic holistically, podcasts are to be conceived for teachers, e.g. in the form of a discussion between two or more actors. For example, the topic of animal suffering and the possibilities of minimizing it as an individual should be addressed. However, the discussion cannot stop at the individual level but should also focus on structural problems. In addition, there will be a podcast by students for students.

RESULT 3: BLENDED-LEARNING TRAINING

This project result consists of modules for teachers for further training, the corresponding curriculum as well as teaching and learning units with which teachers can subsequently design their own lessons. This training will be piloted in advance by employees of the partner organizations and, if necessary, adapted after an evaluation. The content will focus on animal husbandry and global interrelationships, legal principles, ethical issues, and the teacher's own attitude. The result should be a series of lessons that addresses various concepts of animal rights and promotes a critical approach to the area of conflict in the ethical treatment of animals.

RESULT 4: LEARNING VIDEOS

The learning videos, which work with the latest findings from animal intelligence and behavior research and highlight the topics of "social intelligence" and "personality and emotion", are primarily intended to further improve the knowledge of teachers and to encourage them to find a solid approach to ethical areas of tension. In particular, teachers should be enabled to teach the relevant content in such a way that their students can come to their own judgments.

NEWS & EVENTS

KICKOFF 07.-08. JUNE 2022 IN HANNOVER

The project kick-off of ALICE took place in June in Hanover at the Institute for Didactics of Democracy. The representatives of the partner organizations met for two days to discuss the most important pillars of the project, to examine the workplan and time schedule and to get to know each other. Also the work on the first project result (graphic novel) could be started in an engaged and appreciative working atmosphere. In September, the partners will meet digitally to evaluate the scripts before the graphic editing. The second official project meeting is scheduled for November in France, where the first versions of the graphic novel will be reviewed.

ABOUT US

INSTITUTE FOR DIDACTICS OF DEMOCRACY

The Institute for Didactics of Democracy was founded at the end of 2013 and established as part of the Faculty of Philosophy at Leibniz Universität Hannover. The Institute has set itself the goal of bundling and profiling research and transfer activities in the fields of political and democracy education, history and remembrance culture as well as the social challenges of civil society in the 21st century.

The overall aim is to enable both young people and adults to acquire key skills and competences necessary for active citizenship and participation at all levels of social and political life. The research group offers a wide range of teacher training and introductory seminars covering all aspects of civic education in teaching and learning. The in-service trainings are offered at university level as well as at national and European level.

Contact Person: Ronja Kummer (kummer@idd.uni-hannover.de)

Website: https://www.idd.uni-hannover.de/

VETMED

The University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna researches topics that are significant for society. Its focus is on animal health as well as preventive veterinary medicine, public health as well as food safety. Research interests include the creation of scientific foundations for animal welfare, topics of animal husbandry, animal protection and animal ethics.

Contact Person: Ariane Veit (Ariane.veit@vetmeduni.ac.at)

Website: https://www.vetmeduni.ac.at/messerli-forschungsinstitut

DEMOKRATIEZENTRUM WIEN

The Democracy Center Vienna is an independent scientific institution with tasks in democracy research and democracy education. Our empirical and theoretical research serves scientific knowledge, democratic political discourse and transfer into educational offers. Democracy is an open and dynamic process and must always be renegotiated in social and political cooperation. As a continuous process of learning and shaping, democracy requires conscious and active further development by its citizens. As a form of government, society and life, democracy is the starting point and objective of our activities.

Contact Person: Arne Schrader (schrader@demokratiezentrum.org)

Website: https://www.demokratiezentrum.org/

MENSCH TIER BILDUNG E.V.

The non-profit association Mensch Tier Bildung e.V. was founded in 2015 by scientists, educators and volunteers in Berlin. It carries out emancipatory educational work on the social human-animal relationship. With this work, we want to encourage people in our society, regardless of their level of education and age, to engage with the prevailing human-animal relationship. The goal of Mensch Tier Bildung e.V. is to support the participants in developing a critical awareness of social issues and to position themselves in a responsible way.

Contact Person: Rhiannon Westphal (kontakt@mensch-tier-bildung.de)

Website:

mensch-tier-bildung.de

ECOLE SUPERIEURE D'ART ET DE DESIGN D'AMIENS METROPOLE

Stemming from the former École Régionale des Beaux-Arts opened in 1758, the École supérieure d'art et de design d'Amiens is a public institution that offers two training departments:

  1. The Design department: graphic and digital design, character design.
  2. The Animated Image department (Waide Somme): 2D 3D animation, video games, virtual reality.

 

These courses lead to two diplomas from the Ministry of Culture: the DNA, a national art diploma, recognized as a Bachelor's degree and the DNSEP, national diploma of plastic expression, accredited with the grade of Master.

Contact Person: Alisa Nowak (international@esad-amiens.de)

Website: https://www.esad-amiens.fr/

EVANGELISCHE SCHULE BERLIN ZENTRUM

The Evangelische Schule Berlin Zentrum (ESBZ) is an inclusive community school and has had a strong mission statement since its founding in 2007. At our school, children and adolescents learn from grade 7 to 13. In addition, we cooperate with the Evangelische Schule Berlin Mitte (elementary school).

Even after 13 years, we need a shared understanding of education in order to continue to advance the small and large fields of development in a courageous, pedagogically reflective and innovative way.

 

Our slogan is: courageous - protestant - open-minded

Contact Person: Jana Tafankaji (j.tafankaji@ev-schule-zentrum.de)

Website: https://www.ev-schule-zentrum.de/

(KOPIE 18)

(KOPIE 19)

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Project Number:  KA 220-NI-21-30-32616.