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Success! Animal Dissection No Longer Required for Connecticut Students

Success! Animal Dissection No Longer Required for Connecticut Students

Dissection in schools (and everywhere else) should have gone the way of the dodo long ago. Yet many pigs, frogs, rabbits, cats and other animals are still sacrificed each year in the name of science at those institutions that hold on to this arcane and inhumane practice, even though advanced modeling techniques are making humane alternatives to dissection easy, cost-effective and highly educational. However, all that is changing in Connecticut, thanks to the successful passage of a law mandating schools to allow students to opt out of dissection and related curricular activities.

Fewer than half of US states currently have such legislation, leaving many students without legal protection or recourse if they want to refuse dissection. With biology a required part of the curriculum, such students may be effectively forced to participate in something they find unethical, distasteful and upsetting. Youth in the United States often have limited civil rights in school environments, and this is a powerful example of such limits. No student should be faced with the choice between failing a course and engaging in a morally repugnant lesson plan, yet many students across the country do just that when they take biology courses.

For Connecticut students, this represents a major victory, but it represents more than that for the country at large. As more and more states take on such laws and signal that they want dissection-free options for their students, it puts pressure on those that don’t have such protections to consider adopting them. Animal activists can use such legislation to create models for use in other states and to pressure officials who are resistant to the idea of offering dissection alternatives.

Furthermore, it adds weight to the argument that schools should abandon dissection altogether. If numerous students at a school organize objections and protest together, the school experiences pressure to consider adopting humane alternatives. These options are often more educationally useful, but more than that, they’re also less expensive; administering a dissection program can get costly, while a one-time investment in simulations with periodic upgrades as-needed will cost far less over the life of the program and offer a number of advantages including increased teaching tools and flexibility.

The hard work of advocates, organizations, students, teachers and supporters of dissection alternatives has created changes in educational environments in the United States, and it’s also poised to set up a domino effect. Once a critical mass is reached, the country may turn against dissection in the bulk of schools, creating a world where dissection is the outlier, not the norm, and where people (rightly) find the idea of killing animals in the name of education to be bizarre, outdated and perplexing.

Students can learn more from a model than from the remains of an animal, and they do so without the emotional trauma and ethical quandries of dissection. The sooner policymakers and school officials start recognizing that, the better — animals bred for dissection, stolen from the streets, wrenched from their parentsand cruelly killed for classroom use can’t wait another day.

Thanks to Care2 members who took action and helped make this possible.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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98 comments

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12:20PM PDT on Aug 30, 2013

wonderful news, so if everyone else would follow suit, this would be a much better world.

7:57AM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

great news, thanks for sharing :)

4:12PM PDT on Aug 15, 2013

Wise decision!

8:48PM PDT on Aug 12, 2013

Let me see if I get it well. So, from now on in Connecticut students won't need to participate in this kind of cruelty anymore. But the schools will keep on torturing the animals...:) If os, I don't see it as a victory yet. Sure it is good...for the few students that refuse participating. But the situation for the animals has not changed. Here in Brasil students don't have to participate. We already have a law for this kind of things...Not too good, but at least it suggests to stop it once there are alternatives. Problem is some schools think the alternatives are expensive. I have a friend who said no to such classes and things got bad for her. The worst part was...she was alone. All other students thought it was important. And even some members from an organization in defense of animals interfered...against the student. I was in shock. By the way this organization was created by...me 25 years ago. That day I realized it changed too much. Not like it used to be. And because I can't say yes to their new policy...I was "fired". Really.

2:33PM PDT on Aug 9, 2013

Issues like dissection, animal experimentation, circuses, fur, etc. have nothing to do with diet, eating, or food, but do involve the animals' right to life. The fate of the animals and the fate of man are interconnected. (Ecclesiastes 3:19) A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada said in 1974:

"We simply request, 'Don't kill. Don't maintain slaughterhouses.' That is very sinful. It brings a very awkward karmic reaction upon society. Stop these slaughterhouses. We don't say, 'Stop eating meat.' You can eat meat, but don't take it from the slaughterhouse, by killing. Simply wait (until the animal dies of natural causes -- and the eating of carrion, or animals that died of natural causes, is clearly forbidden in Jewish and Islamic dietary laws) and you'll get the carcasses.

"You are killing innocent cows and other animals--nature will take revenge. Just wait. As soon as the time is right, nature will gather all these rascals and slaughter them. Finished. They'll fight among themselves--Protestants and Catholics, Russia and America, this one and that one. It is going on. Why? This is nature's law. Tit for tat. 'You have killed. Now you kill yourselves.'

"They are sending animals to the slaughterhouse, and now they'll create their own slaughterhouse. You see? Just take Belfast. The Roman Catholics are killing the Protestants, and the Protestants are killing the Catholics. This is nature's law. It is not necessary that you be sent to the ordinary slaughterhouse. Yo

6:49AM PDT on Aug 9, 2013

Great!

2:42AM PDT on Aug 9, 2013

This is a WIN-WIN victory all around: the students, the animals, the activists who get satisfaction from their success and momentum to continue where the change is still needed.

Even if the dissection isn't vivisection - those animals weren't just "found" dead for the purpose. What message is the school administration giving, that for the sake of a student seeing inside the body of a recently killed animal, this instills a lesson on the marvels of life in a way no textbook or digital imaging can? I believe, and would rather, that both teacher and student will engage the material and their imaginations in ways more respectful of life. There's already too much casual destruction in the world as it is today.

10:26AM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

Awesome!

8:31AM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

At last! Thank you for sharing!

4:28AM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

Yay!!!

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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