An adorable caged pig props its front hooves and pink snout on the wire, looking out.

To educate our people, and especially our children, to humane attitudes and actions toward living things is to preserve and strengthen our national heritage and the moral values we champion in the world.

- John F. Kennedy

Members of the animal welfare movement know that the core solution to animal cruelty, "speciesism" and environmental destruction is education. While humane groups and animal welfare organizations around the world conduct educational campaigns and programs in personal and hard copy formats, they are also educating online.

The National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (NAHEE) has carried its 17-year-old program for children over to the Internet medium. KIND News online, is the "cyber-cousin" of hard-copy KIND News, published monthly during the school year for students and teachers, grade kindergarten through six. The online version of the publication describes itself as: "For kids who care about people, animals and the Earth." (KIND News)

Also targeting children, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' PETA Kids is a lighter, yet down-to-business version of its boldly informative, adult-aimed site. (PETA, PETA Kids)

According to its 1999 Annual Review, PETA's Web site was visited by more than 2,040,000 people that year. (Vital Statistics)

PETA's anti-dairy educational campaign targeted at college students, "Got Beer?," made the news after Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) attacked its parody angle in March 2000.

Responding to MADD's concerns that PETA's campaign promotes alcohol consumption, PETA offered to pull its materials containing the parody from college campuses and to revise its angle targeting college students, which is a part of its broader, on-going "Milk Sucks" campaign. PETA also sent $500 in donations collected from its employees to MADD and added a link to MADD's Web site to the Got Beer? page.

MADD returned PETA's donations and insisted that PETA remove its "Got Beer?" materials from the Web, as well as the link to MADD's site. Instead, PETA posted correspondence between the organizations on the Got Beer? page, so that the public could decide for itself if MADD had missed the campaign's point. (Got Beer?)

PETA conducts many ongoing educational crusades, for causes from vegetarianism to wildlife protection. For example, PETA's Caring Consumer Campaign pages publish lists of companies that do and don't test their products on animals, as well as facts and investigative reports about cruel products. (Caring)

As does PETA, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) serves as a vast resource for information, both for children and adults. Its multimedia site, animalchannel.net, is rich with informational video and audio clips related to a range of animal causes. (animalchannel.net)

Despite the Internet's positive facilitation of communication and the animal welfare movement, it also serves as medium for displaying and promoting cruelty and abuse.

Shedding light on an issue many animal-advocates lack awareness of, HSUS has researched animal sexual abuse on the Internet, in attempt to understand better the behavior of animal abusers. HSUS' broader "First Strike" campaign promotes awareness of the often-unseen connection between violence against humans and animal abuse. (First Strike)

According to HSUS' site, a single search using the keyword "bestiality," revealed 85,771 documents, most of which promoted the sexual abuse of animals. HSUS says:

There are numerous web sites, chat rooms and pet forums exclusively devoted to animal sexual abuse, and even more general pornographic sites that include animal sexual abuse. Many of these sites provide extensive links to other resources. One site alone provided links to almost 200 other pornographic sites. Some of these sites will periodically shut down and reappear with a different name or in a different location. The identities of the individuals involved are typically kept secret. (Sexual Abuse)

Animal advocates realize that the positive effects Internet technology has on the movement outweigh those that are destructive.

Thanks to the Humane Society of Greater Miami (HSGM), animal welfare's answer to "WebCam" technology has inspired shelters and rescue groups to jump on the band wagon to boost their own site's hits, more important, to boost pet adoptions. When HSGM inaugurated the "PuppyCam" (PuppyCam), it received such positive response, that shelters everywhere began installing them. Of course, as with any developing technology, the PuppyCams (and KittenCams) come with their own annoying glitches, as HSGM warns on its site:

NOTE: You are viewing a LIVE, streaming webcam video image. If the screen is black, the puppy is probably just lying against the camera lens. (HSGM)


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design and words copyright 2000 Jackie Flynt