Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all



“Progress has also been tough in some developing regions due to high levels of poverty, armed conflicts and other emergencies. In Western Asia and North Africa, the ongoing armed conflict has seen an increase in the number of children out of school. This is a worrying trend. While Sub-Saharan Africa made the greatest progress in primary school enrollment among all developing regions – from 52 percent in 1990, to 78 percent in 2012 – large disparities still remain. Children from the poorest households are up to four times more likely to be out of school than those of the richest households. Disparities between rural and urban areas also remain high”.

“Achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development. This goal ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, to eliminate gender and wealth disparities, and achieve universal access to a quality higher education”.

(Sustainable development goals: United Nations Development Programme: Goal 4 Quality Education)


Child Labour in Animal Agriculture & Feed Crops: Animal Agriculture acts as a hindrance to the availability and quality of education in poorer countries, as children are often pulled out of school to work in fields growing commodity crops for livestock or to directly tend to livestock (1-2).

Inadequacies in Higher Education: In Medical Education, various effects of food product consumption have not been made completely transparent, denying medical students and their future patients the opportunity to fully understand risks (3). With doctors as health consultants, this results in unanswered patient concerns about nutrition, how food may be sourced, as well as what costs it has on the environment, the animals, and risks of viral pathology (4). This adds to pre-existing gaps in readily accessible important information for medical professionals, individuals and families (5). In higher education, decades of animal testing have provided misleading results, hindering human knowledge, and resulted in inefficiencies within the health sciences and thus health management (6).

Influences of Cultural Perspectives and Learned Indifference: Studies show children and animals share an instinctual compassion that is inherent (7), yet cultural influences can conflict with children’s inherent compassion and empathy (8), which can result in learning a selective moral indifference to other beings that can hinder inherent compassion (9).

AG. Industries Influence on College and University Curriculum: “A dramatic shift towards the corporatization of education has ensued, which has, in turn, shifted the focus of learning from the cultivation of knowledge to a task exclusively aimed at enabling individuals to engage in activities that focus on profit and the bottom line” (Regarding Agriculture Education in the U. S.) (10).

Widening Learning Perspectives: Natural environments and the presence of wildlife has the power to improve education outcomes in children and encourage them to care for the environment as well as for each other (11). Farm sanctuary learning programs have the benefit of teaching children how to be kind to animals (12).

Download the document below to read the full list of the latest citations of evidence as to how animal exploitation undermines the progress of SDG Goal 4: Quality Education


Further Reading:

Goal 4 : Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (United Nations website)

“Child Labor in Agriculture” – Worldwide, the majority of child labour is found in the agriculture sector (71%). Today, 108 million boys and girls are engaged in child labour in crop production, livestock, forestry, fisheries or aquaculture –

“What Type Of Work Do Child Laborers Do” – PDF –

“The Use Of Animals In Primary And Secondary Education” – Ethics –

“Reproducing Dominion: Emotional Apprenticeship in the 4-H Youth Livestock Program” – (An understanding of the means through which people learn to justify the treatment of the animals known as “livestock” can shed light on the mechanisms involved in generic processes of inequality.) Colter Ellis and Leslie Irvine, 2010 –