TV presenter Chris Packham has joined forces with Blue Cross to encourage teachers and youth leaders to sign up to free classroom talks to create a future of compassionate pet owners.

Chris Packham with one of the dogs here at Blue Cross

The new education ambassador is promoting our charity’s workshops which teach young people important messages on pet welfare and has recorded a series of videos to help us with our work.

The videos, recorded at Blue Cross rehoming centre in Southampton, will be shown to children in Key Stages 1 and 2, and cover the five welfare needs which include aspects like suitable diet and environment, enrichment and companionship.

Chris also recorded a video featuring a case study to stimulate debate about responsible dog ownership to secondary school classes.

Chris said: “It is very important to me to be part of encouraging current and future pet owners to learn more about the needs of the animals that share our lives.

"I feel strongly that being able to engage children in the classroom can have a huge impact for the future and how they will safeguard and protect pets and other species. I was glad to be able to record these films for Blue Cross and hope our messages can help more pets through education.”

Kerry Taylor, Education Manager at Blue Cross, said: “Chris’s involvement in our education programme is invaluable to our charity as we know that these fantastic video resources will help us reach more school children, teachers and parents to help educate about how to keep pets healthy and happy.

“Many pets’ wellbeing does sadly suffer through people simply not knowing the five welfare needs and ensuring that they meet these for their individual pet. For example, poor housing and the wrong diet for small animals like rabbits and hamsters can have devastating consequences and we often need to help these pets at our charity as a result.

“With Chris using his passion and commitment for pets to join forces with Blue Cross we can reach as many children and teenagers as possible, we can improve the lives of both future pets and their owners, and stamp out cases of animal cruelty and neglect in the process.”

Blue Cross, which has 11 rescue centres, four animal hospitals and 53 shops nationwide, also commissioned two polls looking at the value both teachers and parents place on pet welfare in the classroom and found the following:

  • 90 per cent of teachers agree that learning about looking after pets helps children learn important lessons about responsibility and compassion.
  • More than 80 per cent of teachers think it is a positive thing that charities can create lesson plans for teachers to help them teach about pet welfare.
  • Over half of parents strongly agree that learning about looking after pets helps children learn important lessons about responsibility and compassion.
  • Nearly 70 per cent of parents think it is a positive thing that charities can create lesson plans for teachers to help them teach about pet welfare

Blue Cross’s vision is that every pet will one day enjoy a healthy life in a happy home. Since 2005, we have been educating the pet owners of the future through free talks for schools and youth groups.

The Blue Cross Education Team provides free talks to young people about pet welfare, staying safe around dogs and responsible pet ownership from an early age to encourage behaviour change across a generation.

In 2017, Blue Cross reached more than 95,500 young people through 2,553 talks and delivered talks and assemblies to a range of age groups in both primary and secondary schools. Chris Packham’s videos are designed to complement our free talk programme. Our ranges of curriculum-linked learning materials are available for download, enabling teachers and leaders to link our work to their topics.

To book a free school talk, teachers can visit this link or contact [email protected]