Humane Education Laws in the United States
California 51540 Sec 233-233.5
Illinois (105 ILCS 5/27-13.1-14-15-18)
Maine Chapter 111-20 1221.
Massachusetts Chapter 272 Sec 80G
New Jersey Title 18A 18A:35-4.1 4.3
New York S 809 S 810
Washington RCW 28A.230.020
Wisconsin Chapter 14.16
North Dakota 15-38-11.
South Dakota Repealed
See Note regarding Tennessee and Wyoming
51540. In the public elementary and high schools or in public
elementary and high school school-sponsored activities and
classes held elsewhere than on school premises, live vertebrate
animals shall not, as part of a scientific experiment or any
(a) Be experimentally medicated or drugged in a manner to
cause painful reactions or induce painful or lethal
(b) Be injured through any other treatments, including, but
not limited to, anesthetization or electric shock.
Live animals on the premises of a public elementary or high
school shall be housed and cared for in a humane and safe
The provisions of this section are not intended to prohibit or
constrain vocational instruction in the normal practices of
233. (a) At the request of the Superintendent of Public
Instruction, the State Board of Education shall do all of the
following as long as the board's actions do not result in a state
mandate or an increase in costs to a state or local
(1) Adopt policies directed toward creating a school
environment in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, that
is free from discriminatory attitudes and practices and acts of
(2) Revise, as needed, and in accordance with the State
Board of Education's adopted Schedule for Curriculum
Framework Development and Adoption of Instructional
Materials developed pursuant to Section 60200, the state
curriculum frameworks and guidelines and the moral
and civic education curricula to include human relations
education, with the aim of fostering an appreciation of people of
(3) Establish guidelines for use in teacher and
administrator in-service training programs to promote an
appreciation of diversity and to discourage the development of
discriminatory attitudes and practices that prevent pupils from
achieving their full potential.
(4) Establish guidelines for use in teacher and
administrator in-service training programs designed to enable
teachers and administrators to prevent and respond to acts of
hate violence occurring on their school campuses.
(5) Establish guidelines designed to raise the awareness and
sensitivity of teachers, administrators, and school employees to
potentially prejudicial and discriminatory behavior and to
encourage the participation of these groups in these
(6) Develop guidelines relating to the development of
nondiscriminatory instructional and counseling methods.
(7) Revise any appropriate guidelines previously adopted by
the board to include procedures for preventing and
responding to acts of hate violence.
(b) The State Department of Education, in accordance with policies
established by the State Board of Education for purposes of this
subdivision, shall do all of the following:
(1) Prepare guidelines for the design and implementation of
local programs and instructional curricula that promote
understanding, awareness, and appreciation of the
contributions of people with diverse backgrounds and of
harmonious relations in a diverse society.
The guidelines shall include methods of evaluating the
programs and curricula and suggested procedures to ensure
coordination of the programs and curricula with appropriate local
public and private agencies.
(2) Provide grants, from funds appropriated for that purpose, to
school districts and county offices of education to develop
programs and curricula consistent with the guidelines developed in
(3) To the extent possible, provide advice and direct services,
consistent with the guidelines developed in paragraph (1), to school
districts and county offices of education that implement the programs
and curricula developed in paragraph (2).
(c) The State Board of Education shall carry out this section only if
private funds, in an amount sufficient to pay for related State
Department of Education staff activities on behalf of the board, are
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the
governing board of a school district to offer any ethnic studies or
human relations courses in the district.
(e) As used in this section, "hate violence" means any act
punishable under Section 422.6, 422.7, or 422.75 of the Penal Code.
233.5. (a) Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of
the pupils the principles of morality, truth, justice,
patriotism, and a true comprehension of the rights, duties, and dignity
of American citizenship, and the meaning of equality and human
dignity, including the promotion of harmonious relations,
kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of
living creatures, to teach them to avoid idleness, profanity, and
falsehood, and to instruct them in manners and morals and the
principles of a free government.
(b) Each teacher is also encouraged to create and foster an
environment that encourages pupils to realize their full potential
and that is free from discriminatory attitudes, practices, events, or
activities, in order to prevent acts of hate violence, as defined in
subdivision (e) of Section 233.
(105 ILCS 5/27-13.1)
Sec. 27-13.1. In every public school there shall be
study and discussion of current problems and needs in the
of natural resources, including but not limited to air pollution,
pollution, waste reduction and recycling, the effects of
of pesticides, preservation of wilderness areas, forest
protection of wildlife and humane care of domestic animals.
(Source: P.A. 86-229.)
(105 ILCS 5/27-14)
Sec. 27-14. Experiments upon animals.
No experiment upon any living animal for the
purpose of demonstration in any study shall be made in any
public school. No animal provided by, or killed in the presence
of any pupil of a public school shall be used for
dissection in such school, and in no case shall dogs or cats
be killed for such purposes. Dissection of dead animals, or
parts thereof, shall be confined to the classroom and shall
not be practiced in the presence of any pupil not engaged in
the study to be illustrated thereby.
(Source: Laws 1961, p. 31.)
(105 ILCS 5/27-15)
Sec. 27-15. Moral and humane education - In institute
programs. The superintendent of each region and city shall
include once each year moral and humane education in the
program of the teachers' institute which is held under his
(Source: P.A. 79-597.)
(105 ILCS 5/27-18)
Sec. 27-18. Arbor and bird day.
The Governor shall annually designate by official
proclamation a day in the spring to be known as "Arbor and Bird
Day," to be observed throughout the State as a day for
planting trees, shrubs and vines about public grounds, and as
a day on which to hold appropriate exercises in
the public schools and elsewhere tending to show the value of
trees and birds and the necessity for their protection.
(Source: Laws 1961, p. 31.)
RELIGION AND MORALS
20 § 1221. Teaching of virture and morality
Instructors of youth in public or private institutions shall use their best
endeavors to impress on the minds of the children and youth
committed to their care and instruction the principles of morality and
justice and a sacred regard for truth; love of country, humanity and
a universal benevolence; the great principles of humanity as
illustrated by kindness to birds and animals and regard for all
factors which contribute to the well-being of man; industry and
frugality; chastity, moderation and temperance; and all other virtues
which ornament human society; and to lead those under their care, as
their ages and capacities admit, into a particular understanding of the
tendency of such virtues to preserve and perfect a republican
constitution, secure the blessings of liberty and to promote their future
happiness. 1983, c. 767, §1 (amd).]
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GENERAL LAWS OF
Chapter 272: Section 80G. Experiments on vertebrates;
vivisection, dissection of animals; care.
Section 80G. No school principal, administrator or teacher shall
allow any live vertebrate to be used in any elementary or high
school under state control or supported wholly or partly by
public money of the state as part of a scientific
experiment or for any other purpose in which said
vertebrates are experimentally medicated or drugged in a
manner to cause painful reactions or to induce painful or
lethal pathological conditions, or in which said vertebrates are
injured through any other type of treatment, experiment or
procedure including but not limited to anesthetization or
electric shock, or where the normal health of said animal is
interfered with or where pain or distress is caused.
No person shall, in the presence of a pupil in any elementary or
high school under state control or supported wholly or partly by
public money of the state, practice vivisection, or exhibit a
vivisected animal. Dissection of dead animals or any portions
thereof in such schools shall be confined to the class room and
to the presence of pupils engaged in the study to be promoted
thereby, and shall in no case be for the purpose of exhibition.
Live animals used as class pets or for purposes not prohibited
in paragraphs one and two hereof in such schools shall be
housed or cared for in a safe and humane manner. Said
animals shall not remain in school over periods when such
schools are not in session, unless adequate care is
provided at all times.
The provisions of the preceding three paragraphs shall also apply to
any activity associated with or sponsored by the school.
Whoever violates the provisions of this section shall be punished by a
fine of not more than one hundred dollars.
TITLE 18A EDUCATION
18A:35-4.1. Course of study in principles of humanity
18A:35-4.1. Course of study in principles of humanity
Each board of education may teach, by special courses or by
emphasis in appropriate places of the curriculum, in a manner adapted
to the ages and capabilities of the pupils in the several grades and
departments, the principles of humanity as the same apply to
kindness and avoidance of cruelty to animals and birds, both
wild and domesticated.
18A:35-4.3. Sexual assault prevention education program
The Department of Education in consultation with the advisory
committee provided for in section 2 of this act, shall develop and
establish guidelines for the teaching of sexual assault prevention
techniques for utilization by local school districts in the
establishment of a sexual assault prevention education program. Such
program shall be adapted to the age and understanding of the pupils
and shall be emphasized in appropriate places of the curriculum
sufficiently for a full and adequate treatment of the subject.
L.1979, c. 42, s. 1, eff. July 1, 1979.
S 809. Instruction in the humane treatment of animals. 1. The
officer, board or commission authorized or required to
prescribe courses of instruction shall cause instruction to
be given in every elementary school under state control or
supported wholly or partly by public money of the state, in the
humane treatment and protection of animals and the
importance of the part they play in the economy of nature as
well as the necessity of controlling the proliferation of
animals which are subsequently abandoned and caused to
suffer extreme cruelty. Such instruction shall be for such
period of time during each school year as the board of
regents may prescribe and may be joined with work in
literature, reading, language, nature study or ethnology. Such
weekly instruction may be divided into two or more
periods. A school district shall not be entitled to
participate in the public school money on account of any school
or the attendance at any school subject to the
provisions of this section, if the instruction required hereby is
not given therein.
2. Study and care of live animals. Any school which cares for
or uses animals for study shall ensure that each animal in
such school be afforded the following: appropriate quarters;
sufficient space for the normal behavior and postural
requirements of the species; proper ventilation, lighting, and
temperature control; adequate food and clean
drinking water; and quarters which shall be cleaned on a
regular basis and located in an area where undue stress and
disturbance are minimized.
3. Application. The provisions of this section shall not be
construed to prohibit or constrain vocational instruction in the
normal practice of animal husbandry, or prohibit or
constrain instruction in environmental education
activities as established by the department of environmental
4. Dissection of animals. Any student expressing a moral or
religious objection to the performance or witnessing of the
dissection of an animal, either wholly or in part, shall be
provided the opportunity to undertake and complete an
alternative project that shall be approved by such student`s
teacher; provided, however, that such objection is
substantiated in writing by the student`s parent or legal
Students who perform alternative projects who do not perform
or witness the dissection of animals shall not be penalized.
5. Treatment of live vertebrate animals. a. Except as
provided for in this subdivision, no school district, school
principal, administrator, or teacher shall require or
permit the performance of a lesson or experimental study on a
live vertebrate animal in any such school or
during any activity conducted under the auspices of such
school whether or not the activity takes place on the premises
of such school where such lesson or experimental study
employs: (i) micro-organisms which cause disease in humans or
animals, (ii) ionizing radiation, (iii) known cancer producing
agents, (iv) chemicals at toxic levels, (v) drugs
producing pain or deformity, (vi) severe extremes of
temperature, (vii) electric or other shock, (viii) excessive
noise, (ix) noxious fumes, (x) exercise to exhaustion, (xi)
overcrowding, (xii) paralysis by muscle relaxants or other
means, (xiii) deprivation or excess of food, water or other
essential nutrients, (xiv) surgery or other invasive
(xv) other extreme stimuli, or (xvi) termination of life.
b. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this section, the
commissioner may, upon the submission of a written program plan,
issue to such school a written waiver of such
restrictions for students subject to the following provisions: (i) the
student shall be in grade ten, eleven, or twelve; and (ii) the
student shall be under the supervision of one or more teachers
certified in science; and (iii) the student shall be pursuing an
accelerated course of study in the sciences as defined by the
commissioner in preparation for taking a state or national
advanced placement examination. The commissioner shall issue a
waiver of such restrictions for any teacher certified in
science instructing such student. The written program plan shall
include, but not be limited to: (i) the educational basis for requesting
a waiver; (ii) the objective of the lesson or
experiment; (iii) the methods and techniques to be used; and (iv) any
other information required by the commissioner.
6. Report. On or before the first day of January next
succeeding the effective date of this amended section, the
commissioner shall annually submit a report to the governor and the
legislature which shall include, but not be limited to, the number of
written program plan proposals submitted by schools and the
number of such proposals subsequently approved by the
commissioner. In those cases where a program plan
proposal has been approved by the commissioner, such plan shall
be appended to and become a part of the commissioner`s annual
Sec. 810. Conservation day. 1. The last Friday in April
each year is hereby made and declared to be known as
Conservation day, and observed in accordance with the
provisions of this chapter, except that for the year nineteen hundred
seventy-eight, Conservation day shall be May third.
2. It shall be the duty of the authorities of every public
school in this state to assemble the pupils in their charge on
that day in the school building, or elsewhere, as they may
deem proper, and to provide for and conduct (1) such
exercises as shall tend to encourage the planting, protection
and preservation of trees and shrubs, and an acquaintance with
the best methods to be adopted to accomplish such
results, and (2) such lectures, pictures or tours, as shall tend to
increase the interest and knowledge of such pupils in the
fish and wild life, soil and water of the state.
3. The commissioner of education may prescribe from time to
time a course of exercises and instruction in the subjects
hereinbefore mentioned, which shall be adopted and observed by
the public school authorities on Conservation day. Upon
receipt of copies of such course sufficient in number to supply all the
schools under their supervision, the school authorities
336.067 Instruction in ethics and morality. (1) In public schools
special emphasis shall be given to instruction in:
(a) Honesty, morality, courtesy, obedience to law, respect for the
national flag, the Constitution of the United States and the
Constitution of the State of Oregon, respect for parents and the
home, the dignity and necessity of honest labor and other lessons
which tend to promote and develop an upright and desirable citizenry.
(b) Respect for all humans, regardless of race, color, creed,
national origin, religion, age, sex or disability.
Acknowledgment of the dignity and worth of individuals and
groups and their participative roles in society.
(c) Humane treatment of animals.
(d) The effects of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and controlled
substances upon the human system.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall prepare an
outline with suggestions which will best accomplish the purpose of
this section, and shall incorporate the outline in the courses of study
for all public schools. [Formerly 336.240; 1975 c.531 s.1; 1979 c.744
s.13; 1993 c.45 s.75]
Common school curriculum -- Fundamentals in conduct.
All common schools shall give instruction in reading,
penmanship, orthography, written and mental arithmetic,
geography, the history of the United States, English
grammar, physiology and hygiene with special reference to
the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on the human system,
science with special reference to the environment, and
such other studies as may be prescribed by rule or
regulation of the state board of education. All
teachers shall stress the importance of the cultivation of
manners, the fundamental principles of honesty, honor,
industry and economy, the minimum requisites for good
health including the beneficial effect of physical
exercise and methods to prevent exposure to and
transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, and the
worth of kindness to all living creatures and the land.
The prevention of child abuse may be offered as part
of the curriculum in the common schools.
[1991 c 116 § 6; 1988 c 206 § 403; 1987 c 232 § 1; 1986 c 149 §
4; 1969 c 71 § 3; 1969 ex.s. c 223 § 28A.05.010. Prior: 1909 p
262 § 2; RRS § 4681; prior: 1897 c 118 § 65; 1895 c 5 § 1; 1890 p
372 § 45; 1886 p 19 § 52. Formerly RCW 28A.05.010,
28.05.010, and 28.05.020.]
Effective date -- 1988 c 206 §§ 402, 403: See note
following RCW 28A.230.070.
Severability -- 1988 c 206: See RCW 70.24.900.
Child abuse and neglect -- Development of primary
prevention program: RCW 28A.300.160.Districts to develop
programs and establish programs regarding child abuse and
neglect prevention: RCW 28A.230.080.
14.16 Holiday proclamations.
(1) Arbor and Bird Day. The governor, by proclamation, may set
apart one day each year to be designated as Arbor and Bird Day,
and may request its observance by all schools, colleges and other
institutions by the planting of trees, the adornment of school and
public grounds and by suitable exercises having for their object the
advancement of the study of arboriculture, the promotion of a spirit
of protection to birds and trees and the cultivation of an
appreciative sentiment concerning
(2) Citizenship Day. The governor may also set aside, by
proclamation, the 3rd Sunday in May in each year to be
designated as Citizenship Day, and shall request its observance by all
circuit court judges, county boards, municipalities,
colleges and other institutions, by suitable exercises for all those
persons who have recently become enfranchised either by
naturalization or by reaching their majority on the necessity of
exercising responsible, vigilant and intelligent citizenship to
safeguard and maintain our inalienable American liberties,
freedom of person, stability, strength, endurance of our
democratic institutions, ideals and leadership.
(a) When recommending instructional materials for use in the
schools, each committee shall include only instructional materials that
accurately portray the ethnic, socioeconomic, cultural, and racial
diversity of our society, including men and women in professional,
vocational, and executive roles, and the role and contributions of the
entrepreneur and labor in the total
development of this state and the United States.
(b) When recommending instructional materials for use in the
schools, each committee shall include only materials which accu
rately portray, whenever appropriate, humankind's place
in ecological systems, including the necessity for the protection
of our environment and conservation of our
natural resources and the effects on the human system of the use of
tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and other
(c) When recommending instructional materials for use in the
schools, each committee shall require such materials as it deems ne
cessary and proper to encourage thrift, fire prevention, and humane
treatment of people and
(d) When recommending instructional materials for use in the
schools, each committee shall require, when appropriate to the com
prehension of pupils, that materials for social science,
history, or civics classes contain the Declaration of
Independence and the Constitution of the United States. No
instructional materials shall be recommended by any committee for
use in the schools which contain any matter reflecting
unfairly upon persons because of their race, color, creed, national
origin, ancestry, gender, or occupation.
History.--s. 709, ch. 19355, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 892(221); s. 9,
s. 2, ch. 61-322; s. 6, ch. 67-181; ss. 15, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch.
s. 6, ch. 69-402; s. 1, ch. 72-51; s. 3, ch. 74-337; s. 4, ch. 78-323;
4, 5, ch. 81-56; ss. 1, 4, ch. 82-46; s. 2, ch. 83-265; s. 6, ch. 84-94;
67, ch. 84-336; s. 8, ch. 85-109; s. 1, ch. 89-189; s. 11, ch.
89-298; ss. 5,
15, 16, ch. 91-182; s. 5, ch. 91-429; s. 5, ch. 92-100; s. 1289, ch.
s. 3, ch. 97-285; s. 38, ch. 99-398.
266. Kindness to dumb animals
The state board of education may take such steps as it may
think necessary and wise to provide for the teaching of
kindness to dumb animals in the public schools, it being
understood that the state superintendent of education, by the
direction of the board, will issue such suggestions and furnish
such information to the superintendents and teachers as the
board may deem appropriate and necessary.
Teaching humane treatment of animals. Oral instruction in the
humane treatment of animals must be given in each
[P.S.] § 15-1514. Humane education
Instruction in humane education shall be given to all pupils up
to and including the fourth grade, and need not exceed half an
hour each week during the whole school term. No cruel
experiment on any living creature shall be permitted in any
public school of this Commonwealth.
13-33-8. Arbor Day -- Instruction on tree and shrub planting.
SL 1995, ch 87, § 47.
Breaches of the Peace and Related Offenses
§ 644:8-c Animal Use in Science Classes and Science Fairs.
(a) "Animal" means any member of the kingdom of Animalia.
(b) "Vertebrate animal" means any animal belonging to the
subphylum Vertebrata of the phylum Chordata, and specifically
includes all mammals, fishes, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
II. Live vertebrate animals shall not be used in experiments
or observational studies, with the following exceptions:
(a) Observational studies may be made of the normal living patterns
of wild animals, in the free living state or in zoological parks, gar
dens, or aquaria.
(b) Observational studies may be made of the living patterns of
vertebrate animals in the classroom.
(c) Observational studies on bird egg embryos are permitted.
However, if normal bird embryos are to be allowed to hatch,
satisfactory humane consideration shall be made for disposal of the
(d) Vertebrate animal cells such as red blood cells or other
tissue cells, plasma or serum, or anatomical specimens, such as
organs, tissues, or skeletons, may be used in experiments or
III. No school principal, administrator or teacher shall
allow any live vertebrate animal to be used in any elementary
or secondary school, or in any activity associated with such
school, such as science fairs, as part of a scientific experiment
or procedure in which the health of the animal is interfered
with, or in which pain, suffering, or distress is caused. Such
experiments and procedures include, but are not limited to,
surgery, anesthetization, and the inducement by any means of
painful, lethal, or pathological conditions through techniques
that include, but are not limited to:
(a) Administration of drugs;
(b) Exposure to pathogens, ionizing radiation, carcinogens, or to
toxic or hazardous substances;
(c) Deprivation; or
(d) Electric shock or other distressing stimuli.
IV. All experiments on live vertebrate animals which are not
prohibited by this section shall be carried out under the
supervision of a competent science teacher who shall be
responsible for ensuring that the student has the necessary
comprehension for the study to be undertaken.
V. No person shall, in the presence of a pupil in any elementary or
secondary school, perform any of the procedures or
experiments described in paragraph III or exhibit any vertebrate
animal that has been used in such manner. Dissection of any dead
animal, or portions thereof, shall be confined to the presence of
students engaged in the study to be promoted by the dissections.
VI. Science fair projects originating in other states that do not
conform with the provisions of this section shall not be
exhibited within the state.
VII. Any live animal kept in any elementary or secondary
school shall be housed and cared for in a humane and safe
manner and shall be the personal responsibility of the teacher
or other adult supervisor of the project or study.
VIII. Ordinary agricultural procedures taught in animal husbandry
courses shall not be prohibited by this section.
IX. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Source. 1985, 54:1, eff. June 22, 1985.
Tennessee and Wyoming may also have humane education laws,
but we have been unable to locate the laws at this point. If you
have further information on these possible laws please contact us