PCRM Wins Fight to End Cat Dissection
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine announces the end of dissection in several California schoolsPublished November 14, 2012
There’s been a huge victory for cats in a California school district this fall.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, (PCRM), recently reported that following their request to the Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) to stop the practice, cats and all animal dissection in their science classes will finally be discontinued.
In June, Karen Coyne, an English Teacher at Newport Harbor High School was informed by members of the New Harbor’s animal-centered Compassion in Action student club of several highly disturbing photos of dissected cats used in science classes posted on Facebook. The photos, posted by students, depicted several of them posing with the cadaver cats, making fun of and joking about them and requesting friends to leave comments.
Coyne reported the information to PCRM and the organization immediately requested the school district to end all animal dissection and filed a complaint with Facebook to remove the page and any subsequent photos and material which involves the portrayal of animal cruelty.
David Brooks, president of the NMUSD Board of Education replied to Dr. John Pippin, PCRM's Director of Academic Affairs, saying, “The staff at Newport-Mesa Schools decided to eliminate animal dissection and use electronic means in its lessons.”
Dr. Pippin said, “This is a victory for animals and it is a victory for students and educators too. I applaud Newport-Mesa Unified School District for putting compassion first and hope that other California school districts follow its lead.”
Still this change in school policy remains nascent. Reporter Scott Martindale from the Orange County Register wrote that this new dissection rule only applies to cats and not other animals. Martindale states that the NMUSD Board of Education President David Brooks misspoke in his email to Dr.Pippin.
Nonetheless, the PCRM is holding David Brooks to his email: "From their response, it is our understanding that they have ended all animal dissection," their communications specialist, Dania DePas, wrote Petside.
PCRM continues to be a fierce advocate for abolishing the practice of using dead animals for dissection in classrooms. Today, with the availability of programmable and interactive software alternatives, the use of cats and other animals in science classes is no longer necessary.
Although victory can be claimed in the NMUSD, the war to end dissection in classrooms continues to rage. According to the Humane Society of the United States, (HSUS) each year millions of vertebrate animals are dissected in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges in addition to an equal number of invertebrate animals throughout the United States.
In science class dissection exercises, frogs, cats, bats, rabbits, mice, snake and fetal pigs are among some of the most commonly used vertebrate animals, along with a variety of invertebrate animals which include varieties of fish and insects.
PCRM offers some excellent suggestions for students at all grade levels who are reticent to participate in dissection, but at the same time are concerned that refusal to participate may result in lower grades.
How do you feel about the use of dead animals for dissection in science classes? Tell us your opinion in a comment.