Virginia School Takes Down Disturbing ‘Blood and Guts’ Website
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the images posted on the Internet by Virginia students speak volumes. In the aptly named “Blood and Guts” class, at the Governor’s School for gifted students held at Lynchburg College in Virginia, students photographed themselves mugging with animal organs, posing with pig fetuses, and pretending to eat animal intestines. The website explained that over the entirety of the course, students dissected a wide range of animals, including sharks, snakes, turtles, frogs, minks, and pigeons.
PCRM contacted the Governor’s School to express concern about the course, and the website was immediately taken down. Despite that action, Lynchburg’s local newspaper, the News and Advance, and other newspapers around the state covered PCRM’s concerns about the gruesome course.
“Sociological studies have demonstrated that dissection encourages an attitude of such moral indifference that students commonly carry out vulgar mutilations on the animals by the end of the lesson,” wrote Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., a PCRM ethologist and animal behavior expert, in a letter to the school. “This behavior is particularly distressing since these students are among the brightest in their high schools, and they intend to pursue medical careers. The barbaric, vile behaviors that ‘Blood and Guts’ incites bears no resemblance to the compassion required to be a doctor.”
Jim Koger, director of the program at the Governor’s School, cited concerns about cost as a reason for not using alternative teaching methods. However, there are many low-cost and free alternatives, such as having students shadow veterinarians and surgeons, or using one of many state-of-the-art dissection simulators. Simulators are often more cost-effective than dissection, because they can be used by many students year after year. In fact, PCRM is offering a free copy of Digital Frog II, an interactive CD-ROM that uses animation, video, narration, and still images to create a realistic dissection experience, at www.DissectionAlternatives.org.