Prisoners at HMP Swaleside in Kent will stroke and feed goats in new rehabilitative animal therapy sessions.
Inmates at the category B prison on the Isle of Sheppey will help to care for two pygmy goats named Karen and Faye. The prison hopes that by looking after the animals, the inmates will learn how to take responsibility for other living things.
The scheme has received some backlash, according to The Telegraph, with some critics labeling it “farcical” and “laughable.” However, the prison maintains that the goat interaction – which is being offered to people in Swaleside’s Personality Disorder Unit – will give the inmates “positive social activity.”
The NHS added that the new program is in line with mental health guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Compassion Within Prisons
Although not everyone approves of the new goat therapy sessions, there are many who believe that encouraging compassion for animals within prisons can have a positive impact.
Vegan non-profit Evolve Our Prison Farms is campaigning to stop Canadian prison-run slaughterhouses. Calvin Neufeld, the founder of the organization, believes promoting violence to animals is not an effective method of rehabilitation whilst plant-based agriculture, on the other hand, will have a positive effect.
He recently told LIVEKINDLY, “Teaching prisoners to exploit and slaughter animals is neither therapeutic nor rehabilitative. A plant-based model is said to teach responsibility and empathy without the exploitation of animals.”
Actor and vegan activist Pamela Anderson agrees. The celeb recently wrote a letter to the NSW Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin in Australia, requesting that vegan meals are served to inmates as opposed to those with animal products. Anderson maintained that the change would improve health and help to reduce violent behavior.
She was inspired to write the letter after learning about a plan to introduce a yoga and mindfulness program for female inmates.
“Not only would providing vegan food honor one of the driving principles of yoga – ahimsa (doing no harm) – by sparing animals lives, it could also help improve the health of the women in your facilities while decreasing long-term healthcare costs,” she wrote.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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