THE intention of the Darlington primary school with its chick-hatching project may have been to enhance the curriculum (Echo, Mar 15) but such activities teach children the harmful lesson that animals are here for us to use as we please.

They disregard our growing knowledge of animals’ needs and behaviour and can cause them pain and suffering.

In nature, mother hens incubate their eggs until they hatch, rotating them up to 30 times a day to maintain the proper temperature, moisture level, and positioning.

Hatched in an incubator, sensitive, delicate chicks can become deformed, because their organs often stick to the sides of the shells when the eggs aren’t turned properly. And when chick-hatching projects are over, most chicks, particularly the males, are returned to factory-farm systems before being killed or disposed of at poultry markets.

All these projects do is send the message that it’s acceptable to treat animals as disposable commodities that are brought into this world, watched for a short time, and then thrown away like rubbish - a lesson in insensitivity that no educator should wish to impart to a young person.

Jennifer White, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, London