SRSP 11-16 Topic 5 U1d – Animal rights issues


The fundamental principle of the Animal Rights Movement is that non-human animals deserve to live according to their own natures, free from harm, abuse, and exploitation, just as human animals do. This goes further than just saying that we should treat animals well while we exploit them, or before we kill and eat them. It says animals have the right to be free from human cruelty and exploitation, just as humans possess this right. The withholding of this so-called right from the non-human animals based on their species membership is referred to as ‘speciesism’.

This unit investigates a range of scientific and religious views concerning animals and how they should be treated. It asks whether humans are guilty of speciesism by considering the degree to which we attribute rights to animals. Students will investigate how food from animals is produced and whether scientific advances make animal experimentation necessary. Students will consider their own opinions as stereotypes in this areas are challenged and differing views examined.

Students will have an opportunity to reflect on the spiritual implications of these questions.

This unit consists of 6 lessons and is suitable for students aged from 11 to 14 years


Key Questions

  • Do animals have rights? If so what are they and how do they affect how we treat them?
  • Are humans just another sub-species of animals or do we have a special position in creation? If so what responsibilities does this position bring?
  • Do science and religion agree over the status of animals?

Some of the materials can be viewed on screen and some can be downloaded for editing or printing. To view the pdf files you need Adobe Acrobat Reader. See the about section for more details.

Unit Resources

Unit Overview (Word)


Lesson 1

Lesson Plan: Should animals have rights? (Word)

Student Worksheet 1: What are ‘ism’s’? (Word)

Student Worksheet 2: Why are ‘ism’s’ wrong? (Word)

Student Worksheet 3: What rights do animals have? (Word)

Student Worksheet 4: Do we commit speciesism? (Word)


Lesson 2

Lesson Plan: Is factory farming a misuse of science? (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 1: Factory farming (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 2: The factory farming game (Word)

Student Worksheet 1: Where in the world are animals farmed? (Word)

Student Worksheet 2: Match that quotation (Word)


Lesson 3

Lesson Plan: Should animals be experimented upon I? (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 1: Quick on the draw (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 2: Ethical theories (Word)

Student Worksheet: Ranking exercise (Word)

Teacher Resource Sheet: Should animals have rights? (Word)


Lesson 4

Lesson Plan: Should animals be experimented on part II? (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 1: Trusting science with life (Word)

Student Worksheet 1: How should we use animals? (Word)

Student Worksheet 2: What do you think? (Word)

Student Worksheet 3: What does the future offer us? (Word)


Lesson 5

Lesson Plan: Science & Animals; Christian Views (Word)

Student Worksheet 1: The chatroom (Word)

Student Worksheet 2: What do you think? (Word)

Teacher Resource Sheet: Matching game (Word)


Lesson 6

Lesson Plan: Animals in Hinduism (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 1: Snakes and ladders (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 2: Ayurvedic medicine (Word)

Student Worksheet 1: Can you cope? (Word)

Student Worksheet 2: What would you do? (Word)

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)