Monday, 19 May 2014

Improving Respect for Animals – One Child at a Time

Together We Can Change The World
When Uwe Mucke, Regional Head for Bayer HealthCare’s Animal Health Division, first came to Latin America he was confronted with a harsh reality -   animals were often treated very poorly. As an owner of several adopted dogs, he knew how much animals enrich our lives and that there is nothing comparable to the bond between humans and animals. ”It is our responsibility to respect and care for the well-being of animals and humans alike.”  

So in 2007, he and the Bayer team decided to take action to improve how animals were treated.  They started an education program in public and private schools throughout the region focused on strengthening human appreciation for animals.  The goal was to change behavior so that people would see animals differently, and instead of treating them badly, they would view them with respect and appreciation.  For the initial school trainings in Mexico, Uwe took his own dog, Amadeus, a Labrador, to show children the joy that a good relationship with a dog brings to life.  The children loved interacting with Amadeus, and learning about how to properly respect and care for animals. 

Interactive Sessions
From the start, this program brought together local veterinarians and Bayer colleagues to work together on something bigger than themselves, something good that helps society.  The veterinarians and Bayer volunteers visited schools to give interactive sessions for children between the ages of 6 and 10 years old. These trainings showed children the basics of how to respect and care for animals in a simple way, and reinforced the importance of a good relationship between humans and animals.

Kids and Dog Having Fun
Bayer strongly supports this program because the education of children has a positive impact on an entire community.  Students share their experiences with their families and friends, and the information rapidly spreads.  Children can become the best advocates for improving the treatment of animals. “We want to encourage children to look at animals with ‘different eyes’ so they can understand their responsibility to care for these animals, and the world around them,” explains Uwe. 

After the early success in Mexico, the program has now expanded into Brazil and Colombia. Over 240 local veterinarians are involved in the teaching sessions.  And the program will be growing even faster in the future. By the second half of this year, all countries in Latin America will be participating and the Bayer team has a goal of educating 20.000 children in Latin America over the twelve months.   

Dogs Show Off Their Talents
Learn To Love Dogs
Uwe Mucke and his team are passionately dedicated to this initiative and they appreciate the encouragement Bayer is receiving from schools, governments, the media, and most importantly, from children and their families.  “This program brings veterinarians and Bayer volunteers together to work hand in hand for something good.  By helping children understand the value of animals, we encourage better care of pets, the adoption of abandoned animals, and a greater appreciation for our individual responsibility to our environment and the world that we live in.” 

We think Uwe and his team are living out the Bayer motto of Science For A Better Life – and we will be bringing you more updates and stories on this important initiative. Keep checking back for more!

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