THE boss of a Scottish charity has said that ‘animal welfare has a valuable role to play in the school curriculum’.

The claims follow new figures released by a Scottish charity which revealed that over 6,000 children across the Borders have benefitted from animal welfare education.

The Scottish SPCA, Scotland’s animal welfare charity and the University of Edinburgh released the research to demonstrate the positive impact of animal welfare education for children.

The SPCA speaks to around 300,000 children a year nationwide through their free “Prevention through Education” programme. 

In the last five years they’ve seen a 382 per cent increase in the number of calls to their animal helpline from children reporting injured animals. 

They get children to think about what animals need and they learn how they can be responsible towards animals they come across including pet, farm or wild animals.

Gilly Mendes Ferreira, head of education and policy at the Scottish SPCA, said: “This is further evidence that the subject of animal welfare has a valuable role to play in school curriculum.” 

Roxanne Hawkins, PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, said: “A key finding with this research is that following participation in some of the workshops there was a significant increase in children’s belief that animals have feelings.

"This finding is important as it means that Hopefully by participating in animal welfare themed workshops the inclination to take part in motivated and unmotivated animal cruelty can be influenced.”

Dr Jo Williams, senior lecturer in clinical and health psychology, said: “Enhancing children’s knowledge of animal welfare and promoting compassion towards animals through education will not only enhance animal welfare and reduce cruelty, but might also increase compassion to other people.”