Big Hearts Foundation has actively campaigned to improve the lives of millions of animals in Russia for the last four years.
Every day, hundreds of homeless dogs and cats die from cold, hunger, abuse and car accidents in Russia. In tandem, cases of animal cruelty wrought by children, like beating to death, cutting heads off and skinning alive, have reached horrendous proportions.
According to studies, animal cruelty is often rooted in psychological distress that can be related to socially disadvantaged families. Many of us are aware that things are not going well in Russia, but not many people know that Russia has more orphans than any other country in the world. These children lack the basic childcare needs – love, care and attention that form their life and character.
Big Hearts Foundation launched an amazing crowdfunding project – to create an educational cartoon series for Russian speaking children that will develop deep feelings of love, care, and empathy for animals.
The Big Hearts Cartoon series was developed in collaboration with a qualified child psychologist and professional cartoonists who employed a wide range of tactics to promote values-based education. The hope is to use the cartoon to help instill fundamental qualities such as responsibility, compassion, and kindness in children.
Taking on Animal Welfare Issues Through Cartoons
Gosha is the central character in the cartoon. He is very a bright and friendly boy who just moved to a new city with his mother. In the city, there is a pet store which turned into a kind-of-sanctuary, instead of being profit orientated. It is run by an old man and the inhabitants are a piggy, cat, rabbit, dog, fox, parrot and a chameleon.
In the series, Gosha helps the owner of the pet store keep the store from closing. An evil, money orientated character wants to take over the store and throw the animals out on the street or sell them to a local fur hat factory. As the plot develops, the characters address other issues facing animals, including the use of animals for cosmetic testing and even animals in the agriculture industry.
These rather serious subjects are presented in an interesting and funny way through the series as all of the animals can talk and express their feeling and thoughts. This helps to convey the message that animals also have feelings and they should be treated according to their needs – which may not be the way that suits all human beings.
Our hero, Gosha is a very compassionate, responsible, supportive and brave young man who is around the same age as our target audience. By recognizing certain aspects of the characters in themselves or their peers, children can easily relate to the cartoon and consider their own attitudes towards animals. This cartoon can also attract teenagers through humor they can relate to and the actual problems of the modern youth. The goal is to get children of all ages to think about their values and life choices while they enjoy watching this one-of-a-kind cartoon.
Check out a clip of the first episode (in Russian).
Spreading a Message of Compassion
The creation of the Big Hearts series is an expensive process but once we reach our goal of producing five episodes, the cartoon is guaranteed to be shown on at least three national TV channels, and several online streaming channels. Broadcasting the series on these national channels will ensure that the most children possible have access to the cartoon.
Cartoons have always been a powerful visual tool employed by those advocating on of behalf of animals. Unfortunately, Russian cartoons today are remnants of the Soviet past and children simply do not watch them anymore. Creating a cartoon that can help influence children to be more compassionate towards animals can help to transform how they relate to other living creatures for the duration of their lives.
Check out this video to learn more about this amazing project:
Who knew watching TV could be so educational, after all!
You can help this cartoon become a reality by contributing to the Big Hearts IndieGoGo campaign, here.
Lead image source: Flickr