When we learned that humane education visionary Zoe Weil had recorded a new TED talk on farm animals, we couldn’t wait to learn more about it. Watch her TED talk on farm animals here and then check out what she had to say to us about it.
Why did you decide that now was the right time to present this TED Talk about farm animals?
It was less about the right time and more about the opportunity. Since my first TEDx talk, The World Becomes What You Teach, I’ve received invitations to give 7 other TEDx talks (and I’ve been able to deliver 5 of those). People want me to talk more about education and being a solutionary. TEDxYouth@JBMHS was the first that welcomed a talk on animals. I was thrilled.
What did you know about your live audience at the time you recorded this talk on farm animals? How would you describe them?
This was a TEDx youth event, so most of the audience were high school and college students. It was organized by Diego Grossman, an amazing 16-year-old junior at John Bapst School in Bangor, ME. Unfortunately, the event coincided with a terrible ice storm. (It took me 4 hours to drive what’s normally 45 minutes and there were hundreds of accidents that day). Thus, there were many fewer people in the audience than expected.
How do you see the cause of advocating for farm animals factoring into the overall platform of humane education?
The goal of humane education is to prepare people to be solutionaries for a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world for people, animals and the environment. Factory farming is one of the most destructive, unhealthy and inhumane systems, and it’s pervasive. The U.N. has declared animal agriculture and meat-eating a bigger contributor to global warming than transportation. The cruelty to animals inherent in the current systems of agribusiness is appalling. What’s done to pigs, cows, chickens and turkeys would be illegal if done to dogs, cats or parrots. Humane education – unlike most sustainability education and social justice education – includes individual animals, their suffering, and their exploitation as an integral component of education oriented toward preparing people to become solutionaries for a just and healthy world for all.
What kind of reactions do you get from students on this talk about farm animals or other similar ones?
I always get positive responses. At this talk, there were no breaks following my presentation so I didn’t have the opportunity to network and talk to people afterwards because we were all concerned about getting home given the weather and the dangerous road conditions. Students are hungry for this sort of knowledge and information, for meaning and purpose and relevancy in their education. That’s what humane education provides. It’s our goal and the Institute for Humane Education to infuse all curricula with humane education and graduate solutionaries, and there are many ways to be a humane educator – both in traditional classroom settings and in non-traditional educational venues. We provide lots of resources for people who want to bring these issues to others. (For more info please visit: www.HumaneEducation.org)