Victory! PCRM Ends Cat Dissection in California Schools
Newport-Mesa Unified School District told PCRM that it will stop using cats and other animals for dissection. In June, PCRM requested the district end dissection after students photographed themselves with dead cats and posted the pictures on Facebook.
“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.
To learn more, visit DissectionAlternatives.org.