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Friday, February 24, 2006 

Jesus, Superman and your pets' rights....

Is it a bird, is it an RE teacher? Superman called on to help in the classroom
By Liz Lightfoot, Education Correspondent

After three decades battling to save the Earth from invaders, Superman has a new mission. This time he must brighten up religious education as a modern-day model of Jesus Christ. RE teachers are being urged to make use of the fictional hero to give children an insight into morality and religious thinking.

Research has shown that the use of films, including Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan and The Matrix, increases pupils' motivation and helps them to a better understanding of abstract concepts, says Helen Cook, of Sheffield Hallam University.

"Teenagers visit the cinema and see films on television and DVDs so it's hardly surprising that their assessments of what is heroic and what is evil, possible or impossible, are partly based on what they watch," says Miss Cook, the head of post-graduate teacher training in RE. She sees many parallels between Superman and Jesus:

• Both arrive on Earth in unusual circumstances after being sent by their fathers
• Both move from relative obscurity to a prominent adulthood

• Both are able to help the humans they are sent to live with

• Both struggle to stand up for truth against injustice and evil

Miss Cook, a former RE teacher in Lincolnshire, says children who were not interested before become enthusiastic once they are given a point of reference. "Children aren't brought up to go to Sunday School any more and find it difficult to think about abstract concepts such as God and pre-destination and films give them an insight," she says.

In some schools the use of cartoon and film figures might be considered a sacrilege and teachers have to use them sensitively, she adds.

The Rev Dr John Gay, the Church of England's spokesman on religious education, said analogies could be a highly effective teaching technique as long as they are used carefully. "They go right back to the parables."

Taken from http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Government guidelines will tell owners exactly how they must care for their pets

CATS, dogs and other family pets are to have five statutory “freedoms” enshrined in law — and owners who flout the regulations could face jail or a fine of up to Ј5,000 after a visit from the “pet police”. The Times has learnt that Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, is to produce detailed codes of conduct telling pet owners how to feed their animals and where they should go to the toilet, along with ways of providing “mental stimulation”. Owners of “sociable” pets should provide them with playmates, the codes will say. Every domesticated animal will have a code of conduct tailored to their species, each of which is expected to run into dozens of pages. This will form part of the Animal Welfare Bill, expected to clear Parliament in the next few months.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will inform the owners of Britain’s ten million cats, eight million dogs and one million rabbits of their new obligations in a series of pamphlets distributed to vets, pet shops, kennels and over the internet. The first code of conduct, produced for cat owners, has been obtained by The Times. The 18-page A4 document, drafted for MPs scrutinising the Bill, warns cat owners of the dangers of dogs.

It reads: “Dogs should be introduced to cats very carefully. The dog should be on a lead at first so that it cannot chase the cat.” Although any breach of these codes is not an offence in itself, failure to observe elements of the code will count against defendants in court. The five freedoms laid down by the Animal Welfare Bill are: appropriate diet, suitable living conditions, companionship or solitude as appropriate, monitoring for abnormal behaviour and protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease. The law will be enforced by “pet police”; council employees with powers to enter property and seize animals. This is a significant shift from the present situation, where prosecutors have to prove a domestic animal is being mistreated.

The Bill, which has crossparty support and is expected to return to the floor of the Commons in March, also bans the docking of dogs’ tails and pets being won as prizes by anyone aged under 16. Bill Wiggin, the Shadow Agriculture Minister who is seeing the Bill through committee stage, wants the legislation amended so that first-time offenders get a written warning. “There will be a lot of information in these codes of conduct and people who don’t read them properly may fall foul of the law,” he said. Janet Nunn, chief executive of the Pet Care Trust, said that owners should keep all vets’ bills and other documentation to prove that they were looking after the animal properly. Ben Bradshaw, the Animal Welfare Minister, said: “The vast majority of pet owners have nothing to fear from this legislation.” The Bill increases the time in which a prosecutor can bring a case from six months to three years.

Pet shops may bring in a register of animals sold, with customers signing to signify they are above the age of 16 and have been given care advice. The Bill applies to all vertebrates, but a code of conduct for invertebrates, such as lobsters, may follow. The Government has said it is an “enabling” Bill, which allows further rules to be drawn up under secondary legislation.

The 18-page draft code tells cat owners that they should:

Keep cats indoors at night to protect them and the local wildlife

Neuter cats at four months old. Females can produce up to 18 kittens a year, the code says, and “motherhood takes a lot out of a cat”. Cats advertise their availability by screeching, fighting and wandering off, it adds

Provide areas where cats can hide, such as an enclosed bed or box, or a high ledge where they can escape from children and other pets

Ensure that cats have enough “mental stimulation” so that they do not become bored or frustrated

Use lightweight rolling balls, or toys that stimulate “catching behaviour”, such as fishing rods Make sure that cats do not become overweight, and know their ideal weight at every stage of their life

Ensure that cats’ preference for privacy is met by giving them a hidden away place with cat litter to relieve themselves. This advice forms part of a nine-point guide for “going to the toilet”

-taken from the following web site: http://www.cavyrescue.co.uk/cgi-bin/news.pl?record=23

About me

  • I'm TwinsK&D
  • From Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Oh, this is about us...um...well theres two of us and we're twins. We both attend Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Canada. We love Jesus Christ and long to be more like Him and to desire Him above all things!
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