The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal-rights group, has launched “HumaneHigh School.” This is an online service targeting middle-school and high-school students that includes courses, educational videos, study/activity guides, service learning ideas and career advice.

The program is part of the organiztion’s Humane Society Youth division. According to HSUS, the program asks students to “think critically” about issues affecting animals.

Not surprising, the program’s first course focused on lobbying. Called “Using the Legislative Process to Speak Up for Animals,” it teaches students how government works, and how to research issues, develop a message and communicate with elected officials. Courses are instructor-led and free to students. Students must receive an 80 percent or higher grade on assignments and exams to pass the course. Students may enroll in courses and download other HumaneHigh School resources at www.humanesociety.org/teens.

More ominously, the program encourages specific “action steps to reinforce learning,” such as writing a letter to an elected official.