Dr Carys Bennett from PETA UK has said that “archaic” sayings such as “killing two birds with one stone” have “no place in modern society”.
PETA UK, a charity that calls for the ethical treatment of animals, advocates that schools swap these sayings for cruelty-free versions.
Dr Bennett told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “Most of us grew up hearing phrases like ‘killing two birds with one stone’ and ‘more than one way to skin a cat’.
“We are suggesting to schools that they should change them to things like ‘more than one way to peel a potato’.”
She added: “Most of these sayings are just so ancient and archaic. They don’t have a place in modern society where we know animals are sentient beings.
“Hate speech in other terms related to sexism, racism and bigotry just isn’t acceptable anymore.
“It is about starting the conversation and engaging with people at schools and the public about compassionate language in relation to animals.”
'Sentient beings with personalities'
Dr Bennett did admit that these idioms will “fizzle out” but it is about teaching a “humane” curriculum.
“Over time these things will fizzle out and language is just constantly evolving,” she said.
“But, when we speak about animals in that way, it changes the way we think about them.
“We think of them not as sentient beings who have personalities, families and emotions but as objects that are here for us to use really in any way we see fit.”
She added: “It is a bit of fun but humane education is important especially when there is so much animal cruelty out there.
“So it is really important that we engage with children and spread the message that animals deserve respect and they are not just here for us to use and abuse.”