Animal Dissection in Schools


Madalyn Berry, Reporter

As I walked into my Anatomy class I saw a stretched out, open eyed, dead cat, on the lab table. My first thoughts were, is this ethical? Did the cat die of natural causes? With doing some research I found that my fears came true and it’s dehumanizing.
From Animals in Science, “While most of the animals used in schools and universities are purchased as dead specimens, many are subjected to painful and lethal procedures while still alive”. While we think that these animals died of natural causes and their bodies being used to teach kids about the spine and muscles, it’s sadly not always the case. This means that the demand from schools is higher than animals dying naturally. Some animals like frogs, pigs, mice, turtles and yes even your household pets like dogs and cats are being sent over to slaughterhouses and fur farms to be killed and sent off to class B dealers who obtain the animals for legal and illegal reasons.
When observing my classmates, many groups contained one main person doing the dissecting, while the other three people in the group looked distant and disgusted; almost like they were being forced to participate. Some classmates were very engaged and enjoyed dissecting while the majority did the dissecting but wouldn’t do it by choice. Turns out that a lot of the classmates had cats of their own at home and some that even looked like the cats we were dissecting. Talking with junior Claire Willion, “It was kind of sickening to see the cat being dissected and seeing it made me not want to do it,” she said. She goes further to say that “seeing the cat, especially with its skin like that feels inhumane”. However, dissecting the cat doesnt make her scared to go into the medical field.
“I know I would be helping people,” Willion said.
Moving forward to the future, Claire expresses how she would have wanted to have a choice and that it would be just as good to learn from pictures in a book.
“I would not like to see animal dissection, especially without a choice because I do not see it necessary for us to learn about animals. It’s not the same as human anatomy and it would be just as good to look at pictures in a book,” Willion said.
The Physicians Committee for responsible medicine, teaches the youth about other alternatives for animal dissection in the classroom like, 3D Anatomy models, videos, DVDs and computer programs that are just as influential as in person dissection. If you are a student against animal dissection, don’t be afraid to ask your teacher for an alternative. This can be the start of change, minimizing animal suffering and dissections in schools around the world.