Cruelty To Animals — a Talking Points lesson plan for English reading and speaking

Cruelty To Animals blog cover

This is an English lesson plan on the subject of CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.

Most students have very strong feelings about this.

This lesson plan is bound to create much discussion in the classroom.

Download the full and complete lesson plan below!


Are people cruel to animals in your country?

What do you think about people who are cruel to animals?

Do animals have rights in your country?

Don’t Hurt Animals!

Read Amy’s story below

I can’t stand any cruelty to animals. Ever since I was a kid.

I think most people — most normal people — if they see an animal being hurt or abused; they don’t like it.

But with me, it really makes me feel terrible. I feel physically sick inside.

I think it all stems from when I was a small child.

One time, I was walking outside with my grandfather and we saw this man beating his dog. He wasn’t just hitting the dog; he was really trying to hurt the poor thing.

I can remember vividly this poor dog crying and trying to get away from this horrible man.

And the look in the dog’s eyes… It just looked terrified.

I screamed and cried out. And my grandfather called out to the man to stop hitting the dog.

He said he was upsetting his granddaughter.

But I wasn’t worried about myself. I was only concerned with the dog.

Another event that I can remember was when I was a teenager.

There were these two boys at school — they were really awful — and they took a cat and put it in a bag. Then they tried to drown it in a river.

Luckily, someone caught them doing it and stopped them.

The woman who caught the two boys reported them, and the school punished them. I don’t know what their parents did.

But when the headmaster spoke about it, I had to leave the hall and run to the toilet. I was sick. I threw up in the toilet.

I just couldn’t believe that anyone could be so cruel to a helpless animal.

Now, this has affected me in my adult life.

I work at an animal sanctuary. We receive many animals that have been abused or hurt. Or are unwanted pets.

It can be heartbreaking to see the abuse the animals have received, but at the same time, I find the work so fulfilling and rewarding.

I just love to spend all day looking after the animals and making sure they are cared for and loved.

It just amazes me that there are people in the world who think it is acceptable to hurt animals.

In our country, we have strict laws about hurting animals, but people still think they can do it and get away with it.

We have open days at the animal sanctuary and kids from local schools come and see the animals. It’s a really good opportunity for the kids to see the animals, but also to show them that we need to look after animals and respect them.

Hopefully, they leave at the end of the day and they have learned one or two things about animals.

Kids learn from their parents, so if they are cruel to animals it’s because their parents taught them this behaviour is acceptable.

I hope we can change people’s attitudes towards animals and treat them with the respect they deserve.

Reading Comprehension Questions

Does Amy like to hurt animals?

Does she like animals?

How long has she had this feeling towards animals?

According to Amy, how do most people feel about animals?

If she sees an animal being hurt, what effect does it have on her?

What happened when she was a young child? Tell the story in your own words.

In the story, was Amy with her father?

Who was she with?

Did she see a man hitting a horse?

What sound did Amy make when she saw what the man did?

What is the second story that Amy talks about? Tell the story in your own words.

Were there three boys in the story?

How many boys were there?

What did they put in a bag?

When the headmaster told the school, how did Amy react?

Where does Amy work?

What does this place do?

How does it make Amy feel?

Does she like working there?

In the country where Amy lives, are there laws to protect animals?

What happens on open day in the animal sanctuary?

According to Amy, how do children learn how to care for animals?

Does she want to change how people think about animals?

Essential Vocabulary






physically sick

to stem from

the poor thing




to scream

to cry out






to drown




to throw up

so cruel


to affect sb


animal sanctuary






to amaze sb


strict laws

to get away with smth


to respect sb/smth





Write down all the words and phrases in your vocabulary notebook. Look in your dictionary and find the meaning of each word. Write the definition next to each word.

Then make up your own sentences using each word or phrase.

For example:

Notebooka small book with pages of blank paper that students use to make notes when studying.

I left my notebook at home so I was unable to make any notes in my English class.”

Discussion Questions

Do you think Amy is a good person? Why/why not?

What do you think of animals?

Do you think animals deserve to be treated well?

Are there any animals that don’t deserve to be treated well? If so, why not?

Do you have a pet dog or cat?

Why do you have a pet?

How do you treat your pet dog or cat?

Have you ever seen someone being cruel to an animal?

What do you think of cruelty to animals?

What laws do you have in your country to protect animals?

Are there any animal protection groups in your country?

Do you think keeping a pet is cruel?

If you saw someone beating a dog, how would you react?

What if you saw someone beating another kind of animal? A horse? Or a cat?

Do you think people want to only protect attractive animals like dogs or cats?

What about fish or insects? Do they have rights too?

Do you think animals have feelings?

If animals could speak, what would they say to us?

The Perfect Pet?

This is a group/class discussion activity.

Go through all the animals below. Discuss whether it is a good idea to keep these animals as pets.

Explain your reasons why you think these animals would make good pets or not.

Give clear reasons.













Do you have any of the above pets?

What makes them such good pets?

Which animals above would you like as a pet? Why?


This is a creative writing exercise.

Imagine you are a pet dog.

The dog has been the victim of abuse most of its life. It was born and taken away from its mother when very young. Then grew up in a house where it was beaten and abused.

Finally, it was rescued and taken to Amy’s animal sanctuary.

Write a story as if you are the dog and the dog can speak and write English. Write the story of the dog’s life from the dog’s own heart and mind.

You can give the dog a name and choose whether it is male or female. It’s up to you.

When you have finished your writing exercise, read it out in front of the class.

Ask your classmates and teacher for feedback.

Did you like this lesson plan?

Download the full lesson plan below. It comes in easy to use PDF format.

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