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Dissection: Cut It Out!

Posted by at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)

October is National “Cut Out Dissection” Month so we’re re-posting this moving article from the PETA Prime archive.

Did you know that October is “Cut Out Dissection” Month? PETA is active in schools across the country, educating teachers and students about alternatives to the unnecessary and cruel practice of dissection. I was thrilled to hear that PETA did this kind work because this issue resonates with me on a very personal level.

More than 30 years ago, as a horticulture student at Utah State University, I was required to take a biology class that included the dissection of a frog as part of its curriculum. The dissection was scheduled for the last week of class. Supposedly, by dissecting a frog, students would learn the names of the muscles in the frog’s body in order to pass the lab exam.


All quarter I dreaded the pending dissection, but I was afraid that if I spoke up or made a fuss, everyone would laugh at me and think that I was a sissy or freak for caring about frogs. So, instead of being brave and doing the right thing, I kept quiet. I skipped class on dissection day and went skiing. I stuffed the frog muscle diagram from my textbook into my ski jacket pocket and memorized the names of the muscles as I rode the chairlift between runs. In the end, I did just fine on the lab exam and went on to have a successful career in agriculture. So I guess that I’m proof positive that we don’t need to kill animals in the name of science.

To this day, I am full of regret that I did not speak out. I regret that I did not stand up for the animals and that I was weak and took the easy way out. Looking back, I truly believe that there were others in the class who would have stood beside me in refusing to dissect and demanding an alternative-if only I had spoken up.

It was Ingrid E. Newkirk and PETA that liberated me and brought me “out of the closet.” When I saw reports in the newspapers and on television about PETA’s efforts to save the Silver Spring monkeys, I realized that I was not alone. I was part of a growing social movement made up of compassionate people who felt the same way that I did. They were not afraid to speak up for their beliefs. There was no reason to feel isolated or alienated anymore, and I’ve been a PETA member ever since. Now, thanks to Ingrid and PETA, there are students who, with the help of peta2, are speaking up for animals and against dissection. And parents and educators are supporting these conscientious young people with the resources at TeachKind.org.

Have you or your family members spoken out against dissection?

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  • Tiffani says:

    In Pennsylvania there is a law that kids can opt out of dissection. It’s called the Student Choice Law. The problem is the teachers and schools do not inform the students of this. It’s not even in the handbook. My daughter has always opted out. She even completed an alternate assignment for a bug collection project. There is a school in our district that uses cats for dissection. I feel if the students knew thay could get an alternate assignment most would. If anyone wants to know the name of the school it’s Cedar Cliff High School in the West Shore School Districtin south central PA. I would love for this to recieve some publicity.

  • s sureck says:

    Any human who tortures or mistreats or neglects an animal causing pain and suffering, dismemberment and/or death, participates in authorized or un-authorized research, with or without federal funding, withholds food & water and/or medical care is guilty of animal cruelty, an offense punishable to the absolute maximum permitted by law.

  • Cassandra says:

    I was deeply traumatized by memories of disecting in high school. I also didn’t have the guts to speak up & regret it. In 7th grade I stayed home sick when we had to disect a sheep eye. In high school we worked in groups and I was lucky enough that my friends didn’t expect me do any cutting. I was afraid to speak out b/c of my teacher’s comments & jokes. He swore a fetal pig wasn’t going to look like a baby pig. Of course it did & his life was precious to me as I watched its body be cut up. I was unaware that there is a law in PA that allows students to opt out. We are definately not told this. I went on to college for vet. technology & was expected to disect a cat. I was extremly traumatized by this & did speak out to my teacher/ advisor at that time. I showed her PETA materials and she displayed no understanding at first. I was ready to drop out, but she had a change of heart. She offered me a compromise of being her partner and watching her disect without doing it myself. I accepted & was apreciative b/c she cared a little bit. Thank you PETA for being there to support current and future students.

  • Kelly says:

    The only dissection I’ve ever had to do was cutting up a grasshopper when I was in elementary school. I sobbed all the way through it, but I’m not sure if it was because of the bug itself, or because it was disgusting. I had the good fortune to never have to dissect anything in high school, and I don’t know that I would have been able to do it. But when we were supposed to make a bug collection in elementary school, I remember immediately making the decision not to kill any bugs for it. All the bugs I used I found already dead, most from my dad’s car’s radiator.

  • Dissection is a barbaric action, it may not be approved for none reason, neither on pretext of science, of saving live nor anyone. Any life has to be fully loved and respected. Whom practises this has no morality nor cawareness, please think of it and end it.

  • Vici1999 says:

    Someone told me that like animals you dissect are killed by thrown into a freezer!!!!! How cruel is that???? Right now, I’m in gr.6 andeveryone in my class accept two people ( three including me) thinks that dissecting will be fun and they believe that it’s right……:(

  • buzz says:

    Think of larger than you person deciding that they want to dissect your child, your mom or dad, etc. How would you feel about it if happened so someone you care about, but could not stop it. Personalize such cruelty as i related to you.

  • Liz says:

    I was a substitute teacher last spring and found myself in a high school biology lab one morning with about 20 boxes of dead cats in formaldehyde that were oozing and leaking on the floor. I was so offended and so beside myself at the smell of it all that I had all the students evacuate the classroom and I called the principal’s office and told them I would not be able or willing to teach in that environment. It was a blessing in disguise, we spent a good part of the day talking about what it meant to be vegan and I got students thinking twice.

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