3 animal-friendly ways to celebrate the Year of the Ox with your class


Lunar New Year (often referred to as “Chinese New Year”) falls on February 12, 2021, as we enter the Year of the Ox. According to, 2021 will be a “perfect time to focus on relationships,” which makes sense given that bulls and other members of the bull family form close bonds with each other and are known to go to great lengths. to reunite with their family members when they are separated from them. This is a great opportunity to redefine our relationship with these gentle and emotionally challenging animals.

Bulls, also known as “bulls,” are some of the most violent animals forced to work in India and other parts of the world. They are commonly used for grueling tasks such as hauling carts loaded with up to 4 tons of sugarcane or other goods such as metal pipes and cinder blocks. Sometimes they are forced to haul such goods through busy city streets filled with vehicles and exhaust fumes. To make them move faster or to be more obedient, they are tortured with whips, nose ropes, and other devices that cause pain and injury. When the owners no longer consider them useful, oxen and other working animals are killed so that their skins can be turned into leather.

Check out these three ox activities to help instill compassion for animals in your students and inspire them to honor animals during the Year of the Ox. If you’ve covered Lunar New Year in your class before, any of these activities can serve as an excellent follow-up to your discussion. If not, then you now have a good reason.

one. Discover Animal Rahat

Helping oxen and other working animals is one of the goals of Animal Rahat (rahat means help in Hindi), an Indian animal welfare organization supported by PETA projects. Thanks to the power of technology, your students can “visit” the 10-acre Animal Rahat, which serves as an oasis for rescued and retired animals. It is a quiet place where they can spend their days in comfort and safety with the best care available. Share these fun facts about this sanctuary with your disciples (or ask them to read about the sanctuary here):

  • The Rahat Animal Sanctuary in Sangli, India includes a surgical ward, kitchen, classroom, sand beds, self-cleaning posts, shaded awnings, and plenty of space for residents to rest, run and play together.

  • About 100 residents, including bulls, cows, buffaloes, horses, camels and dogs, call this shelter their home. They come from a wide variety of situations – some were formerly forced to do the hard work of the sugar trade or perform in circuses, while others were rescued after being orphaned, abandoned or sustained life-threatening injuries.
  • The reserve also hosts local schoolchildren and hosts workshops and demonstrations for animal owners and veterinarians on topics such as proper grooming practices.

Students can also read about residents of the reserve such as Karo, a young bull who settled there in 2017 after having to fend for himself on the street. He was rescued by Animal Rahat staff, who saw him with a large, deep wound covered with maggots on the bridge of his nose, an injury caused by a built-in halter. After being treated in the city, the team transported him to the nature reserve. Since arriving, he has achieved a healthy weight and made friends with other residents. He especially enjoys wandering around the sanctuary grounds with his pals Hiren, Munna, and Sander.

If your class can do that, sponsoring an animal that lives in Animal Rahat is an easy way to help ensure that animals like Karo receive the care they need. Students will love knowing the name and history of the animal that sponsors your class and will be able to keep up to date with their lives by following the Animal Rahat website. Just look at how many animals the group was able to help only in 2020:

2. Let Compassionate Citizen inspire your students

You may be familiar with TeachKind’s Share the World Program, our empathy-building curriculum designed to empower elementary students to extend the Golden Rule to all living, sentient beings. Well, PETA India has a similar program called Compassionate Citizen that has been used in many schools and has reached nearly 60.3 million children across India. After completing the Share the World activity with your students, show them that children like them on the other side of the world learn to be kind and respectful to animals. Please note that while some animals in India face different challenges than the United States, it is important to understand that all animals can suffer and therefore deserve our attention.

You can point out that the Compassionate Citizen cover is very similar to the Share the World cover, but then ask students to notice the differences. They will notice that the cover of Merciful Citizen features a bull and a donkey, and the cover of Share the World features a raccoon and a frog. Ask them to think about why this might be. Explain that in India and other parts of the world, oxen, donkeys, horses, and other animals are often forced to pull unbalanced or overloaded carts using improperly fitted harnesses that can cut through their flesh. Children who grow up seeing it don’t always recognize it as cruel – just like children here in the US who, for example, grow up seeing dogs chained outside 24/7 may not recognize it as cruel, so they must know. through empathy programs.

Ask your students to think about common practices here in the US that are harmful to animals – for example, chaining dogs or forcing cows, horses, and other animals to participate in rodeo activities – and why it is important to know how to treat animals with kindness. Ask them, “What can happen if children are n
ot taught to treat animals with kindness?” and “What if you see an animal that is not being treated well?”

3. LAbout skin cruelty and how to help animals with Cow life

Most of the leather comes from developing countries like India and China, where animal welfare laws are either lacking or not enforced. Your students may be surprised to learn that their shoes or belt can be made from bull leather such as Karo, but leather can also be made from the skin of pigs, goats and sheep; exotic animals such as alligators, ostriches and kangaroos; and even dogs and cats. Many animals killed for their hide live in very crowded and filthy conditions, are denied veterinary care when sick or injured, and workers can brand them, fix their tails or remove their horns without pain relievers. Point out to students that since the skin is not usually marked, it is difficult to tell where (or from whom) it came from. No one wants to be killed, so that shoes, belts, bags, clothes or sports equipment can be made from his skin.

The good news is, finding warm, stylish, durable clothing and accessories made from non-animal materials such as synthetics or plant materials is convenient and affordable. Teach your students about the brutality in the leather industry and how easy it is to help animals using their skin with TeachKind Kids Comics. Cow life… In the story, three students start buying clothes and go to an animal shelter, where they learn that cows are killed for their skin. They will also learn about the fun and fashionable world of animal-free clothing options. You can order the comic here or click below to view it online and print it out for your students.

cow life button

When your students have read the comic, ask them to complete the Fill in the Blanks and the Discussion and Reading Questions worksheets to help them process the material and learn more about cows and animal-free clothing.

To better understand the information in the comic and help them practice their literacy skills, invite your students to use TeachKind’s inference problem cards and play our game of sorting key ideas.

Want to see more fun and compassionate activities in a humane education classroom?

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