Connect with Us



The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE October 22, 2012

Doctors Persuade California Schools to End Cat Dissection

California’s Newport-Mesa Unified School District Agrees to PCRM’s Request to End Cat and All Animal Dissection in Science Classes

WASHINGTON—California’s Newport-Mesa Unified School District told the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) that it will stop using cats and other animals for science class dissection. In June, PCRM requested the school district end animal dissection after Newport Harbor High School students mugged for photographs with dead cats, posted them on Facebook, and solicited disturbing comments from their friends.

“The staff at Newport-Mesa Schools decided to eliminate animal dissection and use electronic means in its lessons,” wrote David Brooks, president of the NMUSD Board of Education, to John Pippin, M.D., PCRM’s director of academic affairs.

“This is a victory for animals and it is a victory for students and educators, too,” says Dr. Pippin. “I applaud Newport-Mesa Unified School District for putting compassion first and hope that other California school districts follow its lead.”

PCRM also filed a complaint with Facebook and requested the company remove any photographs or posts involving abuse, cruelty, or callousness toward animals in the future, in accordance with its graphic content policy.

The acquisition and preparation of cats and other animals by biological supply companies are objectionable and often dangerous for students. Cats are typically acquired by these companies, including Carolina Biological and Ward's biological supply company which reportedly supply animal specimens to Newport Harbor High School, from animal shelters after euthanasia. Shelters have a greater financial incentive to sell euthanized cats, likely former family pets, than to wait longer to find homes for those cats.

The use of cats and other animals for science classroom dissection is unnecessary for optimal science education. Interactive and programmable software alternatives are available from several sources, and these provide educational, environmental, economic, and ethical advantages compared to animal dissections.

The National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Science Teachers Association, and the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society all endorse the use of computer-based dissection programs for all levels of science education.

For an interview with Dr. Pippin, please contact Dania DePas at 202-527-7382 or

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.


Media Contact:
Dania DePas

John Pippin, M.D.

John Pippin, M.D.

Related Link:

Mail Options:
Subscribe to PCRM’s news release distribution list

Unsubscribe from PCRM’s news release distribution list

2015 Archive

2014 Archive

2013 Archive

2012 Archive

2011 Archive

2010 Archive

2009 Archive

2008 Archive

2007 Archive

2006 Archive

2005 Archive

2004 Archive

2003 Archive

2002 Archive

2001 Archive

2000 Archive

This site does not provide medical or legal advice. This Web site is for informational purposes only.
Full Disclaimer | Privacy Policy

The Physicians Committee
5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste.400, Washington DC, 20016
Phone: 202-686-2210     Email: