The Animal Interfaith Alliance and Veganism in Education have been working with RE Today to produce a range of free classroom resources for Religious Education which will enable teachers and pupils to explore, through critical, objective and pluralistic RE lessons, questions around the moral status of animals and ethical veganism as a worldview.
As RE widens its scope and moves towards a worldviews paradigm, aiming to prepare children and young people for life in a complex multi-religious and multi—secular world, studying ethical veganism offers opportunities to examine the dynamics between religions and worldviews. Ethical veganism, a rapidly growing, practice-based philosophical belief, protected under the Equality Act (2010) and in European law, can be understood as a non-religious worldview, but also, for many people, it is a worldview deeply intertwined with religious belief and practice; sometimes supported by religious teachings and doctrines and sometimes presenting challenges to them. Ethical veganism, and the issues relating to it, provide a rich field of study for children and young people as veganism increasingly becomes part of our collective consciousness in everyday life; whether in shops and restaurants, or in discussions ranging beyond our treatment of animals to environmental responsibility, human health, social justice, and of course, religion and belief.
We believe RE is the best placed subject to teach about aspects of ethical veganism. Ultimately, empathy and compassion are the principal tenets found in most religious and ethical traditions throughout the ages. By extending our circle of compassion to all living beings, we can stimulate the development of empathy in children which will help them improve all of their interpersonal relationships. This approach complements school goals of social-emotional learning, anti-bullying initiatives and creating global citizens responsible for ensuring a more ethical, just and sustainable world.
We hope you enjoy exploring the 6 RE units that span Key Stages 1 to 5 (5-18-year-olds) and the accompanying Teacher’s Guide. They are designed to be used flexibly and creatively by teachers of RE across the four nations of the UK and beyond. You will find a wealth of activities and ideas for teaching and learning accompanied by supplementary resources and links to external sources too, all of which engage with issues relating to the moral status of animals, and ethical veganism as both a religious and non-religious worldview.
You can access these free RE Classroom resources on the Veganism in Education website here.