Do you think that Middle school students should be doing dissections on once alive animals or should they use computer simulations to be in line with the mitzvah of tzar ba’alay chaim – the ethical treatment of animals? According to Jewish law the question would be: Is the potential value to mankind greater than the potential pain to the animals?
Please leave us a comment, letting us know where you are from and your thoughts. We will use your input to further discuss and form our own opinions.
Image used with permission under Creative Commons by robstephaustralia
Simulation Dissection on SmartBoard
Our 6th graders gathered the following information:
*Animals most commonly dissected include frogs, turtles, mice, rats, worms, cats, rabbits, fetal pigs from breeding facilities or slaughter houses. Many animals are killed and processed at biological supply companies.
* Most animals are killed and dissected, others are vivisected (this means that they have a procedure done to them while they are alive.) Others are used for demonstrations.
* Animals used for dissection can have a miserable existence in the process of being captured, transported and ultimately killed.
*Undercover investigations of biological supply companies found nightmarish acts of animal cruelty including the drowning of rabbits and embalming of cats while they were still alive.
* Approximately 10 – 12 million animals are killed through dissection every year in America. 99% are caught in the wild. Commonly dissected animals caught in the wild include 7 million vertebra like frogs, turtles, sharks and countless Invertebra like grasshoppers, crayfish and starfish. In all more than 170 species of non human animals are dissected in American classrooms every year.
*Schools are abandoning the practice of doing dissections on frogs, rats and other animals which have been a mainstay of biology classes for generations. In schools where computer simulations and plastic models aren’t available, teachers may opt to demonstrate instead of having each child dissect an animal.
* The following states have laws upholding a student’s right to choose humane alternatives to dissection without being penalized: Florida, California, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Illinois, Virginia, Oregon, New Jersey and Vermont.
*In December 1999, the Israeli Minister of Education announced an immediate ban on dissection and live-animal experimentation in the country’s schools.