Where Do Animals Used for Dissection Come From?
The animals used for dissection come from a variety of places. Many are taken straight from the wild, especially frogs, snakes, turtles, and fish. This has a devastating effect on their natural habitats and the food chain. The U.S. Department of the Interior discovered that taking frogs from their habitats for dissection purposes resulted in a lower overall amphibian population. This is because frogs are integral to the functioning of their ecosystems.
There are certain facilities that breed and raise animals specifically for the purpose of selling them to biology supply companies that will then provide them for dissections in schools. These facilities are usually considered Class A dealers.
Those who get their animals from these locations are known as Class B dealers. They get their animals from any random source and sell them to dissection companies. The huge problem with this type of dealing is the lack of transparency. Most often, they don’t keep records of where they get their animals from, and many have been found to have stolen peoples’ companion animals to sell. Thankfully, Class B dealers have declined over the years as labs decide to work with only Class A dealers, but there are still Class B dealers in operation in a few states within the U.S.
Some animals bought for dissection are byproducts of another industry. Animals like foxes or rabbits tend to come from fur ranches, while fetal pigs are taken from pregnant mothers that will be killed for meat.
Is Animal Dissection in School Ethical?
About 20 million animals are used for dissection or other lessons every year in the United States.
Six million of these animals are vertebrates that are dissected in a high school classroom setting.
These include frogs, cats, fetal pigs, mice, rats, and more. The animals are taken straight from their ecosystems, from shelters, from backyards, or are bred specifically for the purpose of being killed and dissected. Most aren’t humanely killed, either. Investigations have found animal abuse at these companies – such as frogs being put in bags for weeks while alive, rats being embalmed alive, and cats being drowned, gassed, or injected with preserving fluid while still alive.
Purchasing these animals upholds an industry that remains cruel to them for financial gain.
Animal dissection has been part of many school curriculums for years. For those who are pro-dissection, they argue that dissection helps students get a hands-on understanding of anatomy, develop their observation skills, and solidify their desire (or lack thereof) for a career in science. There’s also a belief that alternatives to dissection, like online activities or videos, won’t give students that same experience.
However, studies have shown that at least a quarter of students are opposed to dissection. With classes where dissection is required, students may drop the class or stop pursuing a science career.
To respect students’ beliefs and values, 11 states have laws that support a student’s choice to not participate in an animal dissection in the classroom. These laws require schools to disclose whether or not dissection is part of a class and protects students who refuse to participate in dissection from punishment.
Although there may not be any alternatives to potion-making in the wizarding world that we know of, at least we have them in the Muggle world.
If you’re like Newt Scamander and are ready to tell the world about how we can stand up for all creatures, take action with us!
Written by Sarah Dittmeier of Extra Shot Copy
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