Victory! PCRM Ends Cat Dissection Lab in California School District
California’s Newport-Mesa Unified School District just told PCRM that it will stop using cats and other animals for science class dissection. It’s a huge victory for animals—and students who want cutting-edge, cruelty-free biology classes. Many thanks for this victory go to John Pippin, M.D., PCRM’s director of academic affairs, who tenaciously provided the school district information on the detriments of animal dissection and the benefits of computer-based dissection programs.
“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 Dr. Pippin in an e-mail message.
Dr. Pippin first contacted the district in June when PCRM learned that students at Newport Harbor High School callously mugged for photographs with dead cats, posted them on Facebook, and solicited comments from their friends. The photographs were taken during a science class dissection that used cats obtained from biological suppliers.
Dr. Pippin asked that the students involved be referred for psychological evaluation, that the teacher be reprimanded and counseled, and that classroom activities involving animals be suspended. 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 use of animals for science classroom dissection is not only cruel and psychologically damaging, it is unnecessary for optimal science education. The National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Science Teachers Association, and the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society all endorse and encourage the use of computer-based dissection programs for all levels of science education.
This victory is the latest of many recent PCRM successes that have replaced animals in education with superior nonanimal training methods. And we’ll continue that fight wherever animals are used in education.