Isabelle Andries Isabelle Andries

Copy of 170303 Animal Versus Human Rights
Upper-Intermediate, ING1152 Group 2 level


In this lesson Ss will informally discuss the topic of animal rights, comparing and contrasting the social and psychological traits of humans with common household pets and other such 'kept' animals (like in a zoo), to determine how and why animals should be treated a certain way. Pre-reading articles will be assigned prior to the lesson, to jumpstart the Ss' thought-process and in-class discussion. Pairwork activities will guide the WC to a well thought-out and supported answer to the lesson's chief question: do animals deserve the same basic rights that are gifted to humans? The in-class conversations will prepare Ss for a formal, Lincoln-Douglas debate on the subject in the proceeding lesson.


Main Aims

  • To provide Ss with the opportunity to practice and use opinionated and persuasive language while discussing the topic of animals, pets, and whether or not animals deserve universal rights just like humans do.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide Ss with the opportunity to practice and use their gist and detailed reading skills while completing pre-reading tasks.


Warmer/Lead-in (15-18 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Show some adorable photographs of different kinds of pets. Try to elicit a general emotional response from the Ss. Write on the WB "CATS," "DOGS," "OTHER," and "NO PETS." Elicit from the Ss which of these categories they consider as an 'ideal pet' and why. Elicit from the Ss their rationale behind their pet opinion. Write under the corresponding pet category some of the Ss' reasons for why they think that that animal is a good pet--or that no pets is the best option. Start a brief debate between the dog and cat lovers of the class. "How do dogs help people in particular? Can you name some professions for dogs?" (Possible Answers: dogs for the blind; dogs for the disabled; dogs for patients with an ailment or disease; canine police). "Can you imagine a feline police office? Why not?" "What are some disadvantages to having pets? How could pets cause trouble? What are some challenges with having a dog? Do cat owners experience similar, or different challenges to dog owners? What challenges might that be?"

Exposure: Good Pet Owners (15-17 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through reading/listening

Refer the Ss to the pre-reading assignment (the Hot English article on spoiled dogs and their owners). Elicit from the Ss their thoughts on the article. "Who thinks that the items purchased for these dogs were necessary and who thinks that they were luxuries? Why would someone buy their dog a necklace of fake pearls or a 300 pound bed? Are the owners just spoiling their pets, or are they doing something much worse?" Highlight the last story in the article (the Yorkshire Terrier named Mignon). "Do you think that it's fair (and healthy) for this dog to get anaesthetized, once a week, for a procedure like having it's fur done? Would you define Claudette and Pierre Leroi as good or bad pet owners? Why?" Divide the Ss into groups and decide on what behaviors they would consider as essential for a good pet owner. "What should a person do if they want to be considered a good pet owner and take good care of their pet?" Following discussion, bring the groups together for WC FB.

Productive Tasks: Animal Exploitation (18-20 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

In groups have the Ss come up with a list of at least 7 things we do with animals (7 ways that animals are useful to us). "Do you object to (are you against) any of the ways that animals are useful for humans in your list?" Bring the groups together for WC discussion and response. Write on the WB "EXPLOITATION OF ANIMALS" and list the following: "Horse-Racing; Dog-Racing; Performance animals in a circus; Bullfighting; Animals in a zoo; Dog-Fighting; Show jumping (with horses); Dog shows; Fot hunting; Cock fighting; Pheasant shooting; Game hunting (i.e. deer, elk, etc.); Big game hunting (i.e. lions, elephants, etc.); Exotic pets." Refer to the Hot English dog article again. "Some would say that dressing up a dog like a human or a doll (Beauty and the Yorkshire Terrier Mignon) should be considered 'exploitation' of that pet. The owner is using that pet for their own pleasure and entertainment, with no concern for the physical and emotional health of that animal." Elicit from the Ss, within the WB list, which of the activities they consider exploitation of animals, and why. Explain any of the activities if Ss are unfamiliar. Compare and contrast these exploitative activities. Which, would the Ss argue, are the top 3 most exploitative activities in the WB list? Why?

Productive Task: Animal Exploitation Opinion Statements (8-10 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Have the Ss read a collection of statements on animal exploitation and animal rights. In their groups, instruct the Ss to respond to these statements. "Where do you draw the line on exploitation and animal rights? Do you agree or disagree with the statements in your HO?" Following GW discussion bring everyone together for WC FB.

Productive Task: Universal Animal Rights (10-13 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

"We have been talking about the ownership of animals and the general treatment of animals. But we need to ask ourselves why we think animals should be treated a certain way--and perhaps why some animals should be treated differently from others." Refer the Ss to the pre-reading article on 'Intelligent Animals.' Discuss the cleverness and intelligence of both animals. "Knowing now the abilities Alex has as a parrot, do you think it is appropriate and fair to keep birds as pets--trapped in a cage for most if not all day? What about Rico the border collie? Would you change in your list what you would define as a good pet owner, now knowing the level of intelligence dogs can have? If animals are really as intelligent as this article suggests, is it really fair and appropriate to have any animal as a pet? Are we mistreating an animal by keeping them as a pet and not allowing them to live freely in the wild?" Following discussion, present the WC with the chief question of the LP. "Based on all of the various discussions we had during this lesson, do you think that animals deserve basic rights like humans?" Write on the WB the following rights: "1) Right to equality; 2) Right to life, liberty, and personal security; 3) Freedom from slavery; 4) Freedom from torture and degrading treatment; and 5) Right to recognition as a person (change to animal) before law." (T's Note: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948; a list of 30 universal human rights). Separate the WC into groups and have them discuss, and decide which, if any, of these universal laws should also apply to animals. Bring the WC together for FB and response.

Group Activity: Lincoln-Douglas Debate (8-10 minutes) • Introduction, Discussion, and Preparation for Group Project

Group the Ss into debate partners and introduce the WC to next week's debate group project. Have Ss select the topic they will debate for or against. Discuss the rules, requirements, and assessment criteria for the group project.

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