FACTS about dissections

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.

Dissection Image licensed under Creative Commons by robstephaustralia

Image used with permission under Creative Commons by robstephaustralia

Simulation Dissection on SmartBoard

Virtual Dissection

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.

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146 Responses to FACTS about dissections

  1. Debbie Banks says:

    We’ve come a long way baby! One of my most vivid memories of high school is my 10th grade biology class. There were many memorable moments in that class but I distinctly remember choosing a lab partner named Wesley so I would not need to touch the frog. Wesley was glad to take the lead and I am certain that I never looked at our dissection. I am happy for the frogs and I am happy that we now have alternative choices in the way we learn!

    • Moses says:

      I agree that we’ve come along way since when we first started dissection. It used to be that kids could fail their class if they didn’t dissect an animal. Even after all this we can still go farther to help stop dissection. Like many comments have said, we can use our new advancements in technology to stop dissecting animals. What do you think?
      ~Moses

  2. Susan Lubliner says:

    Yasher koach to our sixth graders for doing such sound research and making such an ethical choice. I have memories of having to dissect a worm, a starfish, a frog . . . . It was not a happy time in my life . . . ! In those days, our objections were disregarded. We certainly didn’t have teachers raising thoughtful concerns beforehand.

    • I agree, Susan! I hated having to do this back when I was in high school. It just seemed so wrong. Yet I loved seeing how they animals were put together – each was a miracle of God’s creation. Now that we have such great visuals I see no need to continue dissecting live animals.

      • jamie says:

        Dear Mrs. Lubliner and Mrs. Leonard,

        I agree as well! Dissection is a horrible thing to do to an animal, yet this is still reinforced in many schools. Little do they know there is an easier alternative. Virtual dissection is proven to be better for students. This can provide a perfect visual for students to be able to see. There is also a zoom function where you can zoom in and out, verses getting in a long line of your class and waiting for your five seconds to look at it. I think this is a way better alternative. Virtual dissection is a great visual and is, again, proven to have more students successful. Actual dissection lets you see the specimen, but it doesn’t give you a good view and is killing animals. Therefore, I think virtual dissection is the best thing for the environment, students, and success.

        What do you think? Should people reinforce virtual dissection, or keep on with real dissection killing millions of animals?

        Thanks,
        Jamie

    • itamar.l says:

      Dear Susan,

      I TOTALLY agree with you. Dissection should not be enforced on students who do not wish to subject a dead animal to torture. It should be your choice wether or not you should have to dissect. Jewish law states that the ethical treatment of animals is very important. Animals should not be killed for the purpose of dissection. Though, many states still make you dissect animals, California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia do not require you to dissect.

      Many places no longer use real dissections, and the ones that do use animals that were killed for other purposes. 98% of medical schools in the country no longer use real animals in dissection. Instead they use virtual dissections. It is proven that these dissections actually help somebody learn better, plus they are reusable. Even though many places no longer use animals, some do and you viewers are the only ones who can stop it. Say no to dissection. About six million vertebrates and about the same number of invertebrates are killed every year for the purpose of dissection.

  3. Morah Liat says:

    I also have a terrible memory of dissecting a fetal pig in high school. Seeing the organs inside was pretty cool but knowing that so many animals had to die for my class to learn this lesson was really disturbing. I am glad that there are alternatives today to learning by dissection. Let’s use technology to good use and stop killing animals. The mitzvah of Tzaar Baaley Chaim tells us to take of our animals before we take care of ourselves. Let’s put the animals’ lives before our need to learn a certain biology lesson and think of new ways to learn these lessons. Good job 6th grade!

    • edith.horovitz says:

      The Humane Society has the following facts about fetal pigs:

      Q: Fetal pigs are by-products of the meat industry, so what’s wrong with using them?
      A: Many students object to using fetal pigs because of their concern for the treatment of animals raised for human consumption. Almost all of the 97 million pigs slaughtered annually for human consumption in the United States are raised in crowded, confined conditions, where they are deprived of space, fresh air, and fresh forage for the duration of their shortened lives. Many also have their tails cut off and their teeth excised as piglets. The fetuses that end up in dissection trays are taken from pregnant sows at the slaughterhouse.

      • I am sooo glad our students no longer have to dissect live animals. While, as a lover of animals and God’s creation, I love to see how animals are made, I don’t have to use an actual animal to do so anymore. These new programs are so amazing, and such a blessing! I only wish we’d had them back when I was in school. I loved seeing the inside of things, but I really hated that the animals had to die for us to get the information we needed. We dissected worms, frogs, sharks and cats. The cats were the worst; mine even had the same color fur as my pet at home. 🙁

        • Bradfordi says:

          I agree with your comment ,Louise. I love animals too, but if the animals are already being killed for meat we may as well not let any of it go to waste. If we use all the bones and the organs for an educational experience we can gain knowledge from what would have just ended up in a junk pile.

          • Mrs. Leonard says:

            The animals used for dissection are not also being used for food. They are two separate industries. Most parts of animals slaughtered for food are used, actually.

          • edith.horovitz says:

            The Kreiger school only “dissects” animal parts that are byproducts of the food industry. They take parts of animals that were slaughtered for food, not animals that were killed to then be dissected.

        • Sydney says:

          I agree with that 100 percent. Everytime I ask my family about high school and college, and I bring up disection, they start to think of terrible memories of disecting animals and how disgusting it was. On the other hand they think of how people had to take the life of the poor animals. I am glad that there is this technology now so I don’t have to do what they had to….it is best for the animal and us as people, to know that we were intentionally trying to kill the animal.

        • Gil s says:

          I agree 100% because it is not fair that animals have to suffer just for us to learn. It is kind of like killing hundreds of minks just so some person can have the “latest trends.” It is just not fair because if we were to switch roles, imagine how us humans would feel if we were being cut into just for education when there is virtual dissection that is completely harmless. I think all schools should use virtual dissection because it is harmless, more educational, and also it does not harm any living creature.

      • Jake G. says:

        That’s terrible, what those pigs have to go through!

    • “The mitzvah of Tzaar Baaley Chaim tells us to take of our animals before we take care of ourselves.”

      I knew there was a mitzvah for the ethical treatment of animals, but I didn’t know it said to take care of the animals before we take care of ourselves. Does this tie in to God giving Adam authority over the animals? I’ve always seen people as stewards of the animals; it’s our job (and in Judaism a mitzvah) to see that animals are treated humanely and with respect.

      Growing up on a farm I certainly saw this. The animals always had to be fed before we were. I’m still the same way with my dogs, cat and fish today; they have to be fed before I am.

      • Brianna G says:

        I agree. When we first got a cat, I was always telling my mom that you are supposed to feed your animals before you feed yourself. Part of being in this world is taking care of animals, meaning try your hardest to keep the most possible alive. We should have learned this by now, because there are so many extinct and about to be extinct animals. If we keep treating animals this way we won’t have any more animals. If we really need them for food, we could care for them with respect until their very last breath. We learned how baby cows grow up to be Veel. They can barely move and are dragged into a vehicle. No animal should live this way. In reality we are animals too. So why are we treating our own this way? Even though I love gross science things, I don’t think it’s right.

  4. Hazzan Holzer says:

    I too remember the days of dissection in middle/high school. For my Bar Mitzvah (Shabbat Hagadol-right before Pesach), my sister and her friends bought me a tree frog named Chuck. He was in the family for more than 10 years! Having to dissect his brethren in my 9th grade class was painful on so many levels. Great sensitivity given by our 6th graders!!

    • I love that you had a tree frog for a pet!

    • Lily H says:

      It must have been hard to dissect a frog, or any animal. I love cats! I can’t imagine having to dissect a cat, or really any animal. Just thinking about it makes me horrified and sick. I don’t think it is worth killing animals, especially if you can use technology. For some people like doctors it might be crucial, but for middle and high school students virtual dissection is great. I don’t believe that the potential value to mankind was greater than the potential pain of the animal. Look at this website: http://www.animalearn.org/dissection.php#.UTyOphyG64U

  5. rafi.cohen says:

    Yasher Koach 6th grade! A couple of thoughts about your study of the mitzvah of Tzar Ba’aley Chaim, and your decision to abstain from dissection of animals.

    I do not have any vivid recollections of animal dissection in Middle School or High School and don’t believe that I missed out on anything. Given that you’ve made this decision and we live in Florida where a student’s right to choose humane alternatives to dissection without being penalized is a law, I wonder how you would respond to a classmate or friend who very much wanted to dissect an animal? Would you allow it? Should someone who wants to dissect be given the same privileges as those who do not?

    To the best of my knowledge there is nothing wrong according to Halacha (Jewish Law) with dissecting animals in a Jewish Day School so what would you do?

    Secondly, I want to point out to you all of you that since you are in a Jewish Day School your decision followed much of your study of the mitzvah of Tzar Ba’aley Chaim. I hope that you all recognize that you have in a way engaged in the halachic process. Perhaps your decision will become policy for the school. So much of Jewish law and practice is decided through the process of research, practice and rules that are already in place and going through existing conditions. There are those that argue our emotional or moral compass should not impact the decisions we make (and I don’t see this here in your decision) but should it.

    Again, nicely done.

    • edith.horovitz says:

      Rabbi Cohen,
      Thank you for commenting on our question.
      If a student at our school, the MJGDS, wanted to do a dissection, we would not support it. As a Jewish school we follow the mitzvah of tzar Baaley Chaim. We believe that if you weigh the potential harm to animals against the benifit to people, dissecetions in Middle School are against the ethical treatment of animals. Dissections are valuable if you are going to vet school or med school, if you are going into a profession that requires knowledge of human anatomy NOT for Middle School students.
      Our position is the current policy of the MJGDS Middle School.
      the 6th grade

  6. arlene yegelwel says:

    I also remember having to dissect a frog in Biology class and choosing a partner who didn’t mind touching it. I have discussed this with a dr. and was told that she did not think it was necessary in middle school to be dissecting but that in high school “Anatomy” class or “Biology” class that it is necessary. Every living thing, be it a frog, pig etc., though generally the same, is different. She believes that one must actually dissect- to touch and discover for oneself – in order to learn about animals and people (in med. school).

  7. Robin Morris says:

    Dear Kitah Vav,

    I asked a physician friend of mine what she thought about dissection happening in middle school. She responded (and I agree!) that it is not necessary in middle school or even high school to do that. When she was younger and interested in medicine, she didn’t find dissection all that important to her further career. Medical school was the place! Kol tuv …. Morah Rachel

    • Benjamin says:

      I strongly agree with your opinion. You need dissection, but just not on real animals. Virtual dissection is a better learning tool. The reason is when you are doing real dissection, half of your brain is just grossed out and you do not want to see it.

    • Eliana says:

      Morah Rachel,
      I agree with you about not doing dissections. I also think that they are unnecessary to do in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. You only need to do dissections when you are in med school and need to know about the inside of the body. Did you ever have to do a dissection in school? If I ever have to do a dissection in school, I hope it will be in one of the eighteen states that the schools have to provide the students with an alternate activity, so I don’t have to do it.
      ~Eliana

  8. Silvia Tolisano says:

    I remember in 11th grade having to “take apart” a cucaracha (a roach). I went to a High School in Argentina. I did not like it and was glad to have a lab partner as well who did most of the work. I also remember that students were given the option of leaving the room if they did not feel capable of observing. My daughter, who is attending a Pre-nursing program at a university here in the US, just told me that she had to dissect a cat last month.

    I don’t think that Middle & High School students would benefit “more” from dissecting a “real” animal. At that level a virtual simulated dissection might render the same learning results. Once students move on to higher levels of education (in the medical field for example), the benefits of using “real” animals are more evident.

  9. Kristie says:

    Dissection was not a part of the curriculum where I went to school until grade eleven, and even then it was only in Biology, which was an optional course to take. Physics, Chemistry and Earth Science were alternatives, all of which could get you into university. I didn’t mind performing the dissections back then. It was my choice to take the course and the animals we dissected- worms, frogs, rats and crayfish I believe – didn’t bother me. Reading the research here bothers me. I didn’t know that animals were embalmed while alive or that vivisection was part of any curriculum. Given that we could get the same knowledge from computer generated programs and that human anatomy can be learned through dissection of those who have donated their body to science, I can’t see that there is enough benefit to mankind to justify the pain and suffering of these animals.

  10. rachel.s says:

    Emily Spector
    Animal disection was a part of the curriculum when I was in jr. high, high school and in college. When I was in jr high I disected a worm and frog. In high school I disected a fetal pig, and in college disected a fetal pig and a cat. I found it interesting and informative. However, I was a biology and chemisty major. I loved science and I choose courses that had the disections as part of the course. People who did not want to to do disections choose other classes. Looking back, I do not think I gained that much by doing these disections, and if they had to kill these animals just for the purpose of school disections I think they should skip it.

    • rachel.s says:

      Damian Spector \
      There isn’t really a debate here. The body is merely a vessel that transports consciousness, and the soul. When the body dies, these live on, but in another form – OUTSIDE the body. Hence, to dissect a dead body isn’t really much different from dissecting most other inanimate objects. Now, the harvesting and/or termination of a living organism, with the express intent of dissection – that’s another story . . .

      • aaron.k says:

        When you say “the harvesting and/or termination of a living organism, with the express intent of dissection – that’s another story . . .” are you saying that you agree with me?
        I feel that if an organism is just killed for a dissection that it out weighs the learning process. For all schools that dissect they buy them from companies that capture them and kill them making them not have a natural death.

  11. edith.horovitz says:

    We requested information about dissection policies from other Solomon Schechter Schools. This is the policy of the Krieger Schechter School in Pikesville, MD.

    KSDS Policy on Dissection
    November, 2010

    The Krieger Schechter Day School was asked by a concerned parent to review its practice of using dissection as part of its ongoing science program. Currently the only dissection in our science program is that of a squid in Lower School, and that of a pig or cow heart in the Middle School. All these items were purchased at a local food store.

    The headmaster asked the Lower School science teacher to convene a meeting to discuss this issue. She invited the spouses of three of our faculty who work in medical research, our science consultant, who teaches at the college level, our science faculty and KSDS administrative leadership. The group was charged with developing a policy statement for the school on the permissibility of using dissection in the teaching of science. The recommended policy is found below.

    It is the position of Krieger Schechter Day School that manipulation of organisms and biological materials, including dissection, is effective and desirable in achieving the goals of our K-8 science curriculum. When incorporating these means of instruction, we believe the procedure must be executed in an ethical, responsible and humane manner.

    No dissection will ever begin by bringing a live animal into the lab. Furthermore, no vertebrate animal will be killed for dissection; rather, we will only use animals that were killed for consumption or are a byproduct of consumption.

    As part of the curriculum, students will receive instruction on the origin of the specimen, reasons for the dissection and safety procedures. In conjunction with our scientific studies, a unit on Tzar Ba-alei Hayim, not causing unnecessary suffering to animals, will be incorporated in order that students understand the importance of respecting life from a Jewish perspective. At anytime, parents can request that their child be exempted from an experience involving biological materials. Alternate means of instruction will then be provided.

    • I do like the idea of using an animal part, such as a heart, rather than the entire animal. That’s a great idea!

    • edith.horovitz says:

      We, the 6th grade students carefully read this policy and have some comments. Our policy is that we don’t dissect any animals or animal parts in our day school. While the Kreiger School states that the educational value outweighs the potential conflict with Tzar Ba-aley Chaim, we disagree. We feel that computers and smartboards can provide the same educational value and are more appropriate to middle school students. Also, their policy states that they consulted with medical professionals who supported the use of dissection. Those medical professionals we’ve consulted with felt that dissection at the elementary and middle school level is not necesary.
      Our final point is that they said the animals they dissect are by products of the food industry. While this is true, they are NOT by products of OUR food industry since there couldn’t be kosher pig hearts.

      • rafi.cohen says:

        Hey everyone,
        I wanted to share something that will not only re-enforce your behavior and policy regarding dissection in the school but perhaps give you a bigger broader picture related to our actions.
        At this moment I am participating in a Webinar/Conference Call with GreenFaith and the Jewish National Fund whose focus is on steps communities can take to get our GreenFaith action going. At the beginning of the program were reminded of the verse from the Torah (Exodus 23:5) and the Talmud about tsar b’aley chaim.

        By preserving species and caring for all living things, specifically avoiding causing pain and suffering to animals, you have a broader religious framework for the environment. Please realize that your decision can help the entire JJC achieve one of our goals as a GreenFaith community.

      • Karen Booth says:

        Hi Edith,
        As a 6th grade science teacher at Krieger Schechter Middle school, my students and I are very interested in joining the discussion on dissection. We are currently debating the pros and cons of dissection in our classroom. There are a variety of opinions that my students will share, some of which support actual dissection over virtual dissection. We are discussing tzar ba’aley chaim and meticulously reading scientific research on this topic. We are approaching this question using scientific inquiry, as we would with any lab investigation. We hope to present an argument FOR dissection based on fact and not rhetoric. We look forward to ideas being shared and to connect with other Schechter kids. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity!

      • Allie says:

        Animal disection can be kind of gross but I think it is important to experience. I think that actually dissecting an animal part is a better learning and realistic experience rather then using the smartboard. We also only dissect things that are kosher in the food industry. We don’t use pig hearts since they are not kosher. Also at our school, if people don’t want to dissect, they don’t have to, so I think because of that rule then it is perfectly appropriate to dissect for middle school students. I think it gives you a bit of a better experience when you actually disect an animal rather then using a smartboard.

        • joey.p says:

          Hi Allie,
          I agree that dissecting is kind of gross, but I don’t agree it is a good experience. We can learn more from computer simulations because it is a better way to learn because it actually has steps and is easier to see. Actually you dont only dissect kosher animals at your school. I am glad at your school it is an optional to dissect. I think that having the rule making it optional is a good thing.

          • Mrs. Leonard says:

            I like your point about computer dissection being easier to view. I remember dissecting actual specimens and having great difficulty identifying everything.

        • Mrs. Leonard says:

          Why is dissecting an actual animal better than dissecting a computer-generated animal? Have you looked at the virtual dissections? They are amazing.

        • Aleeya says:

          I disagree because I don’t think animal dissection is ok because it is mean to the animals and cruel expecually if they living and it’s against the Jewish law.

      • Jake says:

        I think that we should experience dissection at a young age in middle school to get used to the feeling that we get while doing dissection. The doctors that both schools consulted all have their own opinions and take different views of dissection. I think that dissection is good because if no animals were dissected the ecosystem would be overpopulated and animals would die due to lack of resources because the additional animals would use the resources up and none would be left. Also the animals being used shouldn’t be treated badly and the animals should not have any unnessecary cuts in them because that would not be nice to the animals body.

        • Mrs. Leonard says:

          The ecosystem would be overpopulated? Please check out this link on the possible extinction of many frogs and toads currently happening right here in the United States:

          http://www.hamline.edu/cgee/frogs/science/Threatened.pdf

        • rachel.s says:

          Jake,
          I have looked up facts about dissection and animal extinction. The facts are pretty interesting. Actually, some animals ARE threatened with extinction just from over harvesting for dissection.
          I looked at a website called About.com and found these facts:

          Demand for Dissection Specimens Increases Pressure on Threatened Species
          Researchers from the World Conservation Union reported in 2004 that a third of all amphibian species around the globe, including frogs, were threatened with extinction. Although habitat loss, pollution and climate changes are the primary causes, demand for dissection specimens only makes matters worse. Analysts estimate that as many as six million wild frogs are destroyed each year in the U.S. alone for dissection.

          Dissection—Fewer Frogs Means More Pesticides
          
Taking frogs from the wild also increases insect populations, including those that carry disease. Frogs eat more than their weight in bugs every day. Farmers the world over have long relied on frogs to keep crops pest-free, but a lack of frogs in recent years has led many farmers to switch to pesticides. Concerns about this prompted India to ban frog sales in 1987. India had been earning $10 million yearly on frog exports, but was spending $100 million importing insecticides, according to the group Mercy for Animals.

          Chemicals Used to Preserve Dissection Specimens Create Health Problems
          
The use of formaldehyde in preserving animal specimens is also a concern. Classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a “hazardous air pollutant, water pollutant and waste constituent,” formaldehyde can cause nausea, headaches and breathing difficulties in people, and has been linked to cancer in animal studies. Teachers and students involved in frequent dissections are exposed to it regularly. Further, schools discard millions of formaldehyde-laden classroom specimens each year, raising questions about its effects on the larger ecosystem as well.

          Does Dissection Meet Educational Goals?
          
Animal advocacy groups and some educators also question dissection on both practical and ethical grounds. While it is intended to interest students in science, they say, it may be having an opposite affect while also encouraging cruelty to animals outside class. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a 1997 study of seventh graders found that fetal pig dissections fostered callousness toward animals and dissuaded students from pursuing science careers. PCRM also cites surveys where as many as 90 percent of students said they should be able to opt out of dissection.

          Digital Dissection is Catching On
          
A number of computer-based teaching tools now on the market provide alternatives to live animal dissection. Digital Frog International’s award-winning “Digital Frog 2” allows a student to “dissect” a computer-generated frog with a digital scalpel. The non-profit TeachKind provides a comprehensive online listing of such resources. Nine U.S. states–Florida, California, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Illinois, Virginia, Oregon and New Jersey–now have laws that allow students to beg out of cutting animals and to use such alternatives. Other states have implemented policies that serve a similar purpose.

          Animal habitats are being cut down and that’s mostly why habitats are overpopulated. If animals are being threatened just for dissection it is not necessary to inflict the pain and the suffering to the animals.
          I really think that at the Middle School level you should not be dissecting animals.

        • rebecca.n says:

          I disagree with you Jake because i don’t think that the world would be overpopulated with animals if we didn’t dissect them. I also don’t agree that we should dissect at a young age. I only think that we should dissect on the computer because it wouldn’t be a real animal. I do agree that the animals shouldn’t be cut though.

        • casey says:

          Jake, I disagree with you because we should not even have dissection at all. The reason is because we would be harming wildlife, and the animals are created for a reason not to just to be alive then die. The is really no reason to start dissection at a young age because the then they will go home and start dissecting more things, and we should not even start. In my opinion dissection should not have even been invented. Dissection is not nice to animals at all.

        • Sarah C says:

          Hi Jake,
          I personally disagree with you because I think that it is not good to dissect animals at a young age. Also I think that if we do not dissect that the population of an animal will not over power it’s needs for survival. In addition to your opinion I agree with you when you said that it is wrong to cut animals. I think that because it is not good to treat animals with disrespect and then use them for you to learn about their body. Also for the way their body parts work.

        • Anna F. says:

          I disagree with the main points of your argument. Ecosystems would not be overpopulated if dissections were not performed. However, some animals would not die needlessly when good alternatives such as virtual dissections, are available. Also, I disagree with your idea that middle schoolers should do dissections so that they can get the feel of it. Why should we kill more animals then we need to just so people can be more comfortable? It is quite funny that you are concerned that these animals are treated well, but that you are not disturbed by the fact that they are going to be killed. I understand that sometimes we kill animals for food or other reasons, but if we can kill less animals, that is a better option.

      • Merav says:

        I agree that it is not okay to kill an animal just for dissection, but at our school this is not what we do. Our teachers go to the supermarket and buy the parts of the animals we use. We do not kill, or harm, any live animals. We are actually using parts of an animal that might be thrown away. Also, we only use kosher animals so the animals we use have been slaughtered in the kosher way. I also think that using a smartboard instead of really dissecting doesn’t teach us as much. I remember last year when my science class dissected lamb hearts. Everybody found different things, like blood clots, in the hearts they were dissecting. Everybody would look at other people’s lamb hearts, and learn new things from everyone. This is why I think it is okay to dissect parts of animals that would otherwise be wasted.

        • Mrs. Leonard says:

          The blood clots are actually caused by the animal’s manner of death. These do not actually occur at random.

          • Mrs. Leonard says:

            Actually, at least one of the computer programs available does have a section on abnormalities. Most of the abnormalities seen in real dissected animals are caused by their method of being killed, not from life. Here’s a link to the virtual program that includes abnormalities:

          • Mrs. Leonard says:

            Here’s a quote regarding blood clots we received from Chastity Hayes, the representative for the company Science Works:

            In reference to the “blood clot” question, it is quite normal to find sacrificed specimens with clots as they often form during the “killing” procedure (not unlike what one would find in the slaughter house industry.)

        • joey.p says:

          If your school dissects animals, I believe this is the appropriate process to dissect by dissecting a animal body part that is getting thrown away, but you don’t only dissect kosher animals. According to your teacher you also dissect pig hearts.
          I think comupter simuliations are better or maybe might be evenly educational with dissecting a real animal. Computer simulations are a better process of learning and actually have steps.
          We sent letters to a number of companies that create computer simulations for dissecting animals to ask if they make programs showing the variations. They mostly said that it was important to learn normal dissection without variations first! If you will look at my friend, Aaron K’s reply on Dec. 14th

          One company wrote:
          “Our middle school level materials do not highlight pathologies as such. Primarily because they would be a distraction for most curriculums. However, as all of our materials do use “actual animals” and not computer generated imagery, they do exhibit the wide range of variation that one finds in living organisms.” (Neotek)

          In a letter from a different company they said :
          “We figure that in K-12, students have a hard enough time learning about the norm – exceptions can be dealt with at the university level.

          Of course, in real dissections, students often cannot see the organs clearly as they do not have precise dissections skills.” (Digital Frog International)

          We get from all of this that you will mostly benefit and save animals by using simulations.

        • Shelby.w says:

          I think that this is a very good compromise for killing animals. You not only use the parts that would be wasted, you would make sure the animal was kosher first. Very good idea! 🙂

      • Joshua F. says:

        My mom dissected a pig and frog.
        Facts:
        •Pigeons and other animals dissected
        •Dissecting could be first time in class
        •Law for: Florida, California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia about student wanting an alternative option
        •K-12 prohibited in Maine
        •In Masssachusets alternitives
        •Same for New Mexico
        •No dissections in past fewer medicines today
        •Dissectiong for biology
        •Adopting virtual dissection at schools
        •Dissecting live dog outrages parents
        •Not required to dissect for collage or medical school
        •Harvard, Yale, and Stanford Universaries
        used to do dissection
        not anymore

  12. Jo-Ann Kagan says:

    When I was in college, I refused to dissect an animal.
    We were given cats and pigs. The teacher would not let me do an alternate activity. I was a vegitarian and objected on moral grounds. The teacher said he would give me an “F.” My boyfriend was my lab partner and he did all the work! I refused to go to class until they stopped working on the dissection.

    When my daughter was in JHS, she was told to dissect an animal. She objected. I went to the teacher and stated that PETA could provide alternate activities for my child to do in class. I debated with the teacher for a long time, and he finally agreed with me, and my kid didn’t have to work on a real animal. I think the only reason the teacher agreed with me was because he wanted to go home!

    I feel that medical “research” can be employed with computer sims and other methods that will not lessen the learning process. I totally disagree with any method that will cause pain, just for the sake of “research.”

    P.S. The photos were really gross. Next time, please warn the viewer. I am very sensitive and got stomach pains from the pics!

    I also feel that IF an animal MUST be used, there should be very strict and ENFORCEABLE laws to
    protect the animals from unnessessary pain and suffering. This DOESN’T mean cutting the vocal cords on dogs so you can’t hear them crying from pain.

    I truely believe that Hashem didn’t put animals on the earth be be exploited and abused. Every living thing on earth is part of a biological web and has value in its existence. Life should be respected.

    Question: How can we protect animals when people
    can’t even protect each other from war and violence?
    When I was in college, I refused to dissect an animal.
    We were given cats and pigs. The teacher would not let me do an alternate activity. I was a vegitarian and objected on moral grounds. The teacher said he would give me an “F.” My boyfriend was my lab partner and he did all the work! I refused to go to class until they stopped working on the dissection.

    When my daughter was in JHS, she was told to dissect an animal. She objected. I went to the teacher and stated that PETA could provide alternate activities for my child to do in class. I debated with the teacher for a long time, and he finally agreed with me, and my kid didn’t have to work on a real animal. I think the only reason the teacher agreed with me was because he wanted to go home!

    I feel that medical “research” can be employed with computer sims and other methods that will not lessen the learning process. I totally disagree with any method that will cause pain, just for the sake of “research.”

    P.S. The photos were really gross. Next time, please warn the viewer. I am very sensitive and got stomach pains from the pics!

    I also feel that IF an animal MUST be used, there should be very strict and ENFORCEABLE laws to
    protect the animals from unnessessary pain and suffering. This DOESN’T mean cutting the vocal cords on dogs so you can’t hear them crying from pain.

    I truely believe that Hashem didn’t put animals on the earth be be exploited and abused. Every living thing on earth is part of a biological web and has value in its existence. Life should be respected.

    Question: How can we protect animals when people
    can’t even protect each other from war and violence?
    When I was in college, I refused to dissect an animal.
    We were given cats and pigs. The teacher would not let me do an alternate activity. I was a vegitarian and objected on moral grounds. The teacher said he would give me an “F.” My boyfriend was my lab partner and he did all the work! I refused to go to class until they stopped working on the dissection.

    When my daughter was in JHS, she was told to dissect an animal. She objected. I went to the teacher and stated that PETA could provide alternate activities for my child to do in class. I debated with the teacher for a long time, and he finally agreed with me, and my kid didn’t have to work on a real animal. I think the only reason the teacher agreed with me was because he wanted to go home!

    I feel that medical “research” can be employed with computer sims and other methods that will not lessen the learning process. I totally disagree with any method that will cause pain, just for the sake of “research.”

    P.S. The photos were really gross. Next time, please warn the viewer. I am very sensitive and got stomach pains from the pics!

    I also feel that IF an animal MUST be used, there should be very strict and ENFORCEABLE laws to
    protect the animals from unnessessary pain and suffering. This DOESN’T mean cutting the vocal cords on dogs so you can’t hear them crying from pain.

    I truely believe that Hashem didn’t put animals on the earth be be exploited and abused. Every living thing on earth is part of a biological web and has value in its existence. Life should be respected.

    Question: How can we protect animals when people
    can’t even protect each other from war and violence?
    When I was in college, I refused to dissect an animal.
    We were given cats and pigs. The teacher would not let me do an alternate activity. I was a vegitarian and objected on moral grounds. The teacher said he would give me an “F.” My boyfriend was my lab partner and he did all the work! I refused to go to class until they stopped working on the dissection.

    When my daughter was in JHS, she was told to dissect an animal. She objected. I went to the teacher and stated that PETA could provide alternate activities for my child to do in class. I debated with the teacher for a long time, and he finally agreed with me, and my kid didn’t have to work on a real animal. I think the only reason the teacher agreed with me was because he wanted to go home!

    I feel that medical “research” can be employed with computer sims and other methods that will not lessen the learning process. I totally disagree with any method that will cause pain, just for the sake of “research.”

    P.S. The photos were really gross. Next time, please warn the viewer. I am very sensitive and got stomach pains from the pics!

    I also feel that IF an animal MUST be used, there should be very strict and ENFORCEABLE laws to
    protect the animals from unnessessary pain and suffering. This DOESN’T mean cutting the vocal cords on dogs so you can’t hear them crying from pain.

    I truely believe that Hashem didn’t put animals on the earth be be exploited and abused. Every living thing on earth is part of a biological web and has value in its existence. Life should be respected.

    Question: How can we protect animals when people
    can’t even protect each other from war and violence?
    When I was in college, I refused to dissect an animal.
    We were given cats and pigs. The teacher would not let me do an alternate activity. I was a vegitarian and objected on moral grounds. The teacher said he would give me an “F.” My boyfriend was my lab partner and he did all the work! I refused to go to class until they stopped working on the dissection.

    When my daughter was in JHS, she was told to dissect an animal. She objected. I went to the teacher and stated that PETA could provide alternate activities for my child to do in class. I debated with the teacher for a long time, and he finally agreed with me, and my kid didn’t have to work on a real animal. I think the only reason the teacher agreed with me was because he wanted to go home!

    I feel that medical “research” can be employed with computer sims and other methods that will not lessen the learning process. I totally disagree with any method that will cause pain, just for the sake of “research.”

    P.S. The photos were really gross. Next time, please warn the viewer. I am very sensitive and got stomach pains from the pics!

    I also feel that IF an animal MUST be used, there should be very strict and ENFORCEABLE laws to
    protect the animals from unnessessary pain and suffering. This DOESN’T mean cutting the vocal cords on dogs so you can’t hear them crying from pain.

    I truely believe that Hashem didn’t put animals on the earth be be exploited and abused. Every living thing on earth is part of a biological web and has value in its existence. Life should be respected.

    Question: How can we protect animals when people
    can’t even protect each other from war and violence?
    When I was in college, I refused to dissect an animal.
    We were given cats and pigs. The teacher would not let me do an alternate activity. I was a vegitarian and objected on moral grounds. The teacher said he would give me an “F.” My boyfriend was my lab partner and he did all the work! I refused to go to class until they stopped working on the dissection.

    When my daughter was in JHS, she was told to dissect an animal. She objected. I went to the teacher and stated that PETA could provide alternate activities for my child to do in class. I debated with the teacher for a long time, and he finally agreed with me, and my kid didn’t have to work on a real animal. I think the only reason the teacher agreed with me was because he wanted to go home!

    I feel that medical “research” can be employed with computer sims and other methods that will not lessen the learning process. I totally disagree with any method that will cause pain, just for the sake of “research.”

    P.S. The photos were really gross. Next time, please warn the viewer. I am very sensitive and got stomach pains from the pics!

    I also feel that IF an animal MUST be used, there should be very strict and ENFORCEABLE laws to
    protect the animals from unnessessary pain and suffering. This DOESN’T mean cutting the vocal cords on dogs so you can’t hear them crying from pain.

    I truely believe that Hashem didn’t put animals on the earth be be exploited and abused. Every living thing on earth is part of a biological web and has value in its existence. Life should be respected.

    Question: How can we protect animals when people
    can’t even protect each other from war and violence?
    When I was in college, I refused to dissect an animal.
    We were given cats and pigs. The teacher would not let me do an alternate activity. I was a vegitarian and objected on moral grounds. The teacher said he would give me an “F.” My boyfriend was my lab partner and he did all the work! I refused to go to class until they stopped working on the dissection.

    When my daughter was in JHS, she was told to dissect an animal. She objected. I went to the teacher and stated that PETA could provide alternate activities for my child to do in class. I debated with the teacher for a long time, and he finally agreed with me, and my kid didn’t have to work on a real animal. I think the only reason the teacher agreed with me was because he wanted to go home!

    I feel that medical “research” can be employed with computer sims and other methods that will not lessen the learning process. I totally disagree with any method that will cause pain, just for the sake of “research.”

    P.S. The photos were really gross. Next time, please warn the viewer. I am very sensitive and got stomach pains from the pics!

    I also feel that IF an animal MUST be used, there should be very strict and ENFORCEABLE laws to
    protect the animals from unnessessary pain and suffering. This DOESN’T mean cutting the vocal cords on dogs so you can’t hear them crying from pain.

    I truely believe that Hashem didn’t put animals on the earth be be exploited and abused. Every living thing on earth is part of a biological web and has value in its existence. Life should be respected.

    Question: How can we protect animals when people
    can’t even protect each other from war and violence?
    When I was in college, I refused to dissect an animal.
    We were given cats and pigs. The teacher would not let me do an alternate activity. I was a vegitarian and objected on moral grounds. The teacher said he would give me an “F.” My boyfriend was my lab partner and he did all the work! I refused to go to class until they stopped working on the dissection.

    When my daughter was in JHS, she was told to dissect an animal. She objected. I went to the teacher and stated that PETA could provide alternate activities for my child to do in class. I debated with the teacher for a long time, and he finally agreed with me, and my kid didn’t have to work on a real animal. I think the only reason the teacher agreed with me was because he wanted to go home!

    I feel that medical “research” can be employed with computer sims and other methods that will not lessen the learning process. I totally disagree with any method that will cause pain, just for the sake of “research.”

    P.S. The photos were really gross. Next time, please warn the viewer. I am very sensitive and got stomach pains from the pics!

    I also feel that IF an animal MUST be used, there should be very strict and ENFORCEABLE laws to
    protect the animals from unnessessary pain and suffering. This DOESN’T mean cutting the vocal cords on dogs so you can’t hear them crying from pain.

    I truely believe that Hashem didn’t put animals on the earth be be exploited and abused. Every living thing on earth is part of a biological web and has value in its existence. Life should be respected.

    Question: How can we protect animals when people
    can’t even protect each other from war and violence?
    When I was in college, I refused to dissect an animal.
    We were given cats and pigs. The teacher would not let me do an alternate activity. I was a vegitarian and objected on moral grounds. The teacher said he would give me an “F.” My boyfriend was my lab partner and he did all the work! I refused to go to class until they stopped working on the dissection.

    When my daughter was in JHS, she was told to dissect an animal. She objected. I went to the teacher and stated that PETA could provide alternate activities for my child to do in class. I debated with the teacher for a long time, and he finally agreed with me, and my kid didn’t have to work on a real animal. I think the only reason the teacher agreed with me was because he wanted to go home!

    I feel that medical “research” can be employed with computer sims and other methods that will not lessen the learning process. I totally disagree with any method that will cause pain, just for the sake of “research.”

    P.S. The photos were really gross. Next time, please warn the viewer. I am very sensitive and got stomach pains from the pics!

    I also feel that IF an animal MUST be used, there should be very strict and ENFORCEABLE laws to
    protect the animals from unnessessary pain and suffering. This DOESN’T mean cutting the vocal cords on dogs so you can’t hear them crying from pain.

    I truely believe that Hashem didn’t put animals on the earth be be exploited and abused. Every living thing on earth is part of a biological web and has value in its existence. Life should be respected.

    Question: How can we protect animals when people
    can’t even protect each other from war and violence?

  13. This is such a GREAT project, Edith! I consider myself well-informed when it comes to animals, but I had no idea how the animals for dissection were obtained. As a result I no longer support this type of dissection for middle or even high school. Thank you for sharing this great project with all of us.

    Does this group do any animal work? I’d love to help! You know how I love critters!

    Louise

  14. Mrs. K says:

    How fortunate we are that we attend MJGDS, where such an issue can be discussed – or should I say scientifically and Talmudically dissected? You have taken apart the dilemma and looked at it from many angles; you have done extensive research and presented your findings; and now, you are prepared to commit to a position.

    In my opinion, a good question is one that prompts many other questions, such as:

    Should anyone dissect a live animal if accurate computer simulations are available? [How, by the way, is the information for the computer simulations obtained? At some point, should dissection be performed for the sake of verifying information?]

    Why just address dissection? Doesn’t the commandment tzar ba’alay chaim pertain to the ethical treatment of animals at all times?
    Should using animals for product research and experimentation be legally banned? [At one time, cosmetic companies were using rabbits to test mascara, surgically affixing their eyes so they could not blink.] And, if I recall (Mrs. Burkhart, please verify), students must commit in writing not to misuse or abuse any living thing for the purpose of a Science Fair project.
    What about circuses? Rodeos? Do you know why a bucking bronco does so? Evidence in the past has shown that sharp spurs are tightly strapped under the horse’s saddle/cinch; the rider’s weight causes such extreme discomfort, that the animal does everything in its power to dismount the rider.
    According to Jewish law the question would be: Is the potential value to mankind greater than the potential pain to the animals? My question: Is there any value in causing an animal pain for the entertainment of others?

    6th grade. I am very proud to be a member of your Middle School faculty. I look forward to continued debate and discussion as your research evolves.

    Kol ha’kavod,
    Mrs. K

  15. Gabrielle says:

    I think disections are a complicated subject. I think that disecting a whole animal, or an animal that we would never eat isn’t very plesant, but at our school we only disect parts of animals that a Kosher Butcher might throw out, or you can find at the grocery store. As far as I know we only have two disections at our school. We also don’t use full animals.
    PS. Where did you find the information on disecting animals who are caught in the wild, plus all the statistics? I thought all of it was shocking. It would be nice to see where the information came from.

  16. Ben says:

    You all put up a good argument, but what if you use body parts from a Kosher animal. It’s been sloughtered giving the animal the least amount of pain posible. Also, isn’t it worth the sacrifice of an animal for education? If you don’t want to sacrifice that many animals, put the students in groups so not as many animals are killed. And on the matter of online simulation disection, everything is the same! You can’t find anything new or different. Like a defect that the animal had. A simulation wouldn’t have that and that wouldn’t spark a covrosation about that defect and there is no learning. So there is really no educational value. That’s my opinion.

    • avichai.l says:

      Avi: I agree with you that it is better to use kosher animals for dissection but we got an email from your teacher saying that you dissect pig hearts. Also if you only used one computer simulation, you would not be getting a lot of information but if you used several different simulations for the same animal, some might give you different info than others, that way you can get as much as you have to know in middle school. You should not dissect in middle school or high school since the education is not so necessary then. It does not benefit us more than it hurts the animal. This is the mitzvah Tsar Balaye Chayim. Unless you want to become a medical student, veterinarian, or other career that needs this kind of information you shouldn’t do dissections either in college. The people who create simulations use real animals to take a picture of the animals so the killing does not have to be done over and over again.

    • Nathan says:

      If you use body parts from a kosher animal, the animal still dies even though it is as painless as possible. It is worth sacrificing an animal for education but not middle school level. It should only be done a high school or college level and even then only if that person is planning to be in the category of a doctor. On computer simulations you do learn about the same as the real thing because you can program the simulation to have a defect.

  17. Jordan says:

    I think that kids should be able to dissect animals if they want to. Also with a simulated dissection things are always going to be the same. But if you dissect with a real animal you may find something new and really interesting. Plus I think kids should experience dissection in middle school to get ready for dissection in high school and college. I think that dissection is good because people would have eaten what we dissected any way. All we did was use it to teach kids more about science and teaching us about animals. We do throw it away afterwards but we put it into good use. If you use a smart board it may skip something important that kids should know. The computer could also freeze or have an electrical problem so then you couldn’t disect anything at all. But with an actual thing in front of us it can’t freeze or have an electrical problem. But with a computer you can’t mess up. If you use an actual thing you may mess up by cutting it in half or something and then you couldn’t just hit undo or something like that.

    • julia.k says:

      We are researching simulated games online, and we have found some games close to the opposite of what you said. You may find something new and really interesting. We believe that you can get the same educational value from computer simulations and wouldn’t it be good to be able to hit the undo button.

    • Daisy H says:

      Hi, Jordan,
      I actually disagree with you. I feel that middle school students should not dissect animals because they do not need to. If they want to grow up and become a realtor, they would not need to know how to dissect an animal. But, if you become the veterinarian, you would need to know how to dissect animals. So my idea is to only dissect animals when you go to college in med. school.
      -Daisy

  18. Naomi says:

    I think these are all great points. I agree that disecting animals can be disgusiting, but there are some things in life that you just have to do, right? The truth is, there isn’t always something there to protect you such as in when you are in college and it counts as part of your grade. I think to help exceed in grades, disecting in middle school would be very helpful for high school and college. Our school does keep kashroot, so we would not be disecting a pig. Do you keep kosher in your house? Well, a part of kashroot is for the animal to die without pain. So, how is not disecting an animal for edcutaional rights worse then not keeping kosher? Here, we disect kosher animals in a respectful way. Also, I really enjoyed reading about those facts. I was wondering if you could state the sites so I could read more. Just like the human, each animal is unique.

    • avichai.l says:

      Avi: We both agree that all animals are unique. However there are some things we disagree with. The first thing that I think is that from our school’s point of view, or what our part of the argument concerns right now, animal dissection is not about being disgusting. It is about being ethical. I think that in middle school, computer simulations are able to provide what education is necessary for middle school. Real Dissection would be more educational at some levels but it is not necessarily for MS. A simulation would prepare you enough for high school. In college you probably would not be taking those classes using dissection unless you want to become a medical student. If you do you can dissect. This is because in the mitzvah Tsar Ba’alay chayim, you are allowed to have an animal suffer as long as it benefits the humans more than it hurts the animal. It would be okay if only a few animals were dissected that were part of the kosher food industry but think about how many animals actually are dissected. Millions!
      I thought what you said about being kosher and dissecting were not much different, and the animal would die without pain and be used for both dissection and eating was okay, but our school got an email from your teacher and your teacher replied your school does use pig hearts for dissection, and pigs are not kosher. Our school is a kosher school also. Because of what your teacher wrote, you might not be able to guarantee that all the animals dissected are treated fairly.

      Since you said you wanted to learn more facts, here are some sites for finding some information:

      Please go to:
      http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/dissection/

  19. Marcelle says:

    I Believe that both virtual dissection and real dissection are educational. However, I do believe that killing an animal ONLY for disection is unnecessary. In my defense, real disection is educational, but wasteful. although virtual dissection is “Respectful,” virtual disection is NOT as educational as real disection. During the process of virtual disection, you are disecting only one carcus, And as many of you know, no two bodies are the same. When your class dissects many animals, the whole class gets to observe something different. For example, one animal could’ve had lung cancer. Each student could’ve observed each others animal, and discover something different. In my beliefe, it is all up to the school council to decide. Whatever they want to do is important.

    • aaron.k says:

      We are in agreement that killing animals only for dissection is unnecassary and against the mitzvah of Tzar Ba’alay Chaim. I do not agree with you about virtual dissection. I think it can have the same educational value and can allow you to follow tzar ba’alay chaim.
      You are right that you can see different things when dissecting an animal but is it worth killing all those animals. Also, you could use different virtual sites to see different things and have different experiences. We are looking into virtual dissections that show different things like animals with lung cancer. As soon as we locate good websites, we will share them.

    • aaron.k says:

      We wrote to a many companies who make dissection simulations. They said that they do NOT include abnormal stuff in simulations for the MS level because first you have learn what it normally looks like.
      One company wrote:
      “Our middle school level materials do not highlight pathologies as such. Primarily because they would be a distraction for most curriculums. However, as all of our materials do use “actual animals” and not computer generated imagery, they do exhibit the wide range of variation that one finds in living organisms.” (Neotek)

      In a letter from a different company they said :
      “We figure that in K-12, students have a hard enough time learning about the norm – exceptions can be dealt with at the university level.

      Of course, in real dissections, students often cannot see the organs clearly as they do not have precise dissections skills.” (Digital Frog International)

      We get from all of this that you will mostly benefit and save animals by using simulations.

    • Joel says:

      I agree with in you that I think dissection is wasteful, but I don’t think that kids at the middle school level need to worry about the different appearances of animals. Kids don’t need to know the difference between the lungs of an animal with Cancer from a regular animal. Seeing an perfect animal on a virtual dissection is fine.

    • Joel says:

      I also don’t think that virtual dissection is less educational because everyone doesn’t have an animal. When and if you are in medical school dissecting animals is a good thing to do. Even dissecting humans is helpful so that you can learn. Just NOT at the middle school age.

  20. Jonathan Mizrahi says:

    Shalom, MJGDS 6th graders (and other readers)!

    For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Jonathan Mizrahi. Only 11 years ago, I was a 6th grader at the Center in the exact same classrooms and even with some of the same teachers. In addition to being Ryan’s cousin, I’m also currently in medical school at the University of Florida – Go Gators!

    Just a couple weeks ago, I finished my first semester in which we dissected a human body. The body that I was working on was that of a 96 year old woman who had breast cancer and eventually died of lung disease. She and the other 25 or so people who were presented to us for dissection all went through a long process of agreeing to donate their bodies to science once they passed away. In the Jewish tradition this donation of your body for dissection is not really permitted, because you are supposed to be buried in the ground. However, it is a great thing to do for those whose religious beliefs do not require them to buried, because they are providing a crucial piece to furthering scientific knowledge and understanding to people who really need it.

    Before medical school, the only animal I recall dissecting was a cat. In my college anatomy class, we were given this opportunity to study the anatomy of a cat which had not been killed for dissection purposes. Each of them died for other reasons. I bring this up because I, too, have thought a great deal about the ethical implications of dissection. I have come to the following conclusions:

    1. Dissecting animals (i.e. frogs, mice, cats, pigs, etc.) that have been killed for the purpose of dissection is not appropriate for middle school or high school students. This seems to me a clear violation of the mitzvah of tza’ar ba’alay chayim. There are methods of obtaining animals for dissection without having to kill them. These include, retrieving animals from shelters who have died of natural causes or even owners of pets who would like to donate their pet’s body to science once it has died.

    2. The physical act of dissection offers very little benefit over the alternative of using a computer simulation. In other words, the additional benefit of dissecting a frog over watching a simulation of the dissection does not outweigh the cost of killing the animal. In fact, during our medical school human body dissections, I sometimes preferred to watch a simulated dissection than see it in the body I was working on. Simulations are often clearer and more helpful.

    3. Middle school, especially MJGDS, is primarily about building values and a foundation for education. The fact that you guys are mature and caring enough to be having this conversation in the first place means the Center is succeeding in its first goal. Treating other human beings and even other animals with respect is a value that you will hold with you for the rest of your life. On the other hand, having a single experience holding a scalpel, while hovering over a mess of what used to be an animal does little to build that foundation. Imagine spending middle school math classes memorizing answers to equations instead of learning how to perform the order of operations. One day, learning that order will help most people through algebra in 8th grade and calculus in high school. That is what building a foundation is about. Learning from a simulation can provide you ample opportunities for laying the framework.

    If somehow you are still with me, I will offer this hypothetical. If your class decided to pursue a frog or mouse or another small animal that was donated for dissection by a friend or a shelter, I think it would be appropriate to offer an optional, after-school dissection. In this case, the dissection is only a supplement to the in-class learning, and you can consider it like extra credit (without the extra credit, of course). And most importantly, no animal was being harmed or improperly treated for the sake of your learning. That is what this is all about anyway.

    I hope this contributes something to your conversation. If you agree or disagree (even better!), let me know. I think this is a wonderful and impressive conversation that you precocious (Morah Itah will give you bonus points if you know what that means…) 6th graders have taken up.

    Shavua tov and b’hatzlacha,
    Jonathan Mizrahi

    • ryan.m says:

      It’s Ryan and all of us agree that you can get the same value from computer simulations as real dissection. Joey is looking for good sites on virtual dissection that can show the same things as a real dissection.
      אריה

    • Mrs. Leonard says:

      This is beautifully written, Jonathan. Thank you for a very valuable and useful contribution! I love this part:

      “Middle school, especially MJGDS, is primarily about building values and a foundation for education. The fact that you guys are mature and caring enough to be having this conversation in the first place means the Center is succeeding in its first goal. Treating other human beings and even other animals with respect is a value that you will hold with you for the rest of your life. On the other hand, having a single experience holding a scalpel, while hovering over a mess of what used to be an animal does little to build that foundation.”

      This is EXACTLY why we do not need to dissect actual animals. Bravo!

    • douglas.n says:

      I agree.
      I believe dissection is a good educational source but only if it could lead to saving an human life. In a middle school i believe it is useless compared to the educational gain but in a high school setting i believe it could be very useful because it could lead to a student becoming a doctor.

  21. Rabbi Jonathan Lubliner says:

    As a 10th grader at an Orthodox high school in New York City, we dissected a fetal pig in our biology class. I don’t remember if anyone asked about the circumstances through which the animals were obtained and/or if they were in keeping with the ideals of tza’ar ba’alei chayyim. What I DO remember was feeling squeamish throughout the process — my recollections of the smell of formaldehyde and the rubbery skin are fairly vivid.

    The scientific value of this educational experience was debatable; I can’t point to any specific lessons that I couldn’t have gotten otherwise from a textbook, film or foam dummy. In retrospect, however, there was redeeming religious value to the experience:

    1. The discomfort I felt was occasioned by the “yuck” of the undertaking. But it did make me think about the act of eating meat. Were I to visit a slaughterhouse and watch cows being killed, butchered and processed, would I still be such an enthusiastic meat eater? The beef, chicken and lamb we buy are packaged so nicely and cleanly; it’s very easy to dissociate the contents of a supermarket- purchased piece of meat from the killing process. Kashrut doesn’t prohibit us from eating meat, of course, but it is supposed to invest the act of taking animal life with moral awareness of what it means to cause the death of a living being. The dissection experience made me wonder whether or not kosher meat eaters should take it upon themselves to visit a slaughterhouse or participate in shechita (kosher slaughter) at least once. After all, unless we go into a scientific field related to biology, chances are we’ll only participate in dissection a handful of times. On the other hand, a life-time of meat consumption may well involve the slaughter of hundreds of animals.

    2. The up close and personal encounter with the animal’s body made me realize how intricate and amazing our bodies are (by “our” I mean all living beings). As the Psalmist puts it, “How great are the things You have made, O Lord; You have made them all with wisdom!” (Psalm 104:24). There’s a b’racha found in the morning liturgy that I’d encourage everyone to read and include in their daily routine. It thanks God for “fashioning the human body in wisdom, creating openings, arteries, glands, and organs, marvelous in structure, intricate in design.” You certainly don’t need to dissect an animal to feel how miraculous and incredible God’s world is, but the experience reinforced the message for me.

    I have mixed feelings about dissection within Jewish day school classes. But this much I do believe — if they are to continue they should be accompanied by a process of consciousness-raising about the moral issues involved, and preceded by a prayer that elevates the experience from a class project to a religious encounter with the design of God’s own creation.

    • avichai.l says:

      Thank you Rabbi Lubliner for putting your input on this subject on our blog. We will suggest that the students of the Creager School read your post and try to make dissections more of a meaningful experience for themselves.

  22. Sabrina M. says:

    I think that you should not dissect animals in middle school or high school. You should only dissect animals in any school that you go to after college (medical school etc.), or if you are a professional scientist or doctor and you need to dissect an animal so you can save a human’s life.

  23. max.m says:

    I think that you should do a vurtual disection it would be better for you to understand you won’t get sick and only 1 animal has to die. There is no point in killing 16 animals when you can do the disection on a projector screen.

  24. Edyn Gottlieb says:

    I agree that we should not dissect animals in class. In sixth grade what importance is it to look inside a died frog. In collage I believe it ok but not in middle or high school.

  25. Reesa says:

    I think it is important for students to learn by doing the real dissection, but it isn’t really important for them to do it at their age. Maybe during high school it could be important, but not middle school. Although, it is against the jewish law. I think that it would be ok for a once living animal could be dissected, because it is for education.

  26. Allie says:

    I think that if you are in middle school or even high school, you should at least have the option to not dissect. If you go to this webstite it will take you to virtual dissection: http://www.mhhe.com/biosci/genbio/virtual_labs/BL_16/BL_16.html
    If you have the oportunity than you should only do virtual dissection.

  27. rachel.o says:

    You should not dissect in real life in middle school or in the first part of High school. But you can do virtual dissection. Some people may not be ready to dissect animals in 6 grade.

  28. hannah.gr says:

    I agree that we should not dissect animals in 6th grade. I honestly think that it would be a waste because knowing the 6th graders, some of us would be playing around and not learning anything. Therefore it was just a waste because 1 you will forget and 2 you never learned. Also it is a waste because when you grow up and get a job, that job may not have anything to do with the dissecting of animals. Also the most important thing is the suffering of the animal. What if someone cut you open just for fun, or even to learn.

  29. Shira D. says:

    Its Shira I think dissecting animals in 6th grade is unnecessary. I think if the dissection doesn’t work then we just wasted an animal. I think we should not dissect an animal cause we have to think about the animal suffering. I think we should learn about it but use an alliterative. When you get older and succeed in life you may have done the dissection for nothing because your job may have nothing to do about it. We should be more aware of the dissection of animals.

    • Ava J says:

      Dear Shira,
      I agree that it is unnecessary for sixth grader to dissect. Also, I think you should only have to dissect if nessarsry for a job. But if someone truly want to dissect than I think they should if the animal was not only made for dissection. But over all dissection is wrong.
      ~Ava J

  30. Daniel says:

    Speaking for our school I think we should only do vertual disections of one being alive animals because 1 its another way to learn about the internal organs of the animal and 2 because it would be going aginst what we learn as jewish students.

  31. josh.z says:

    I think that you should be able to when YOU ARE OLDER if you do that with a 3rd grade class they would gross out and not learn anthing. But if you are older and more mature you will be able to do it.

    • noah.r says:

      I agree Josh. I think you should wait in till you know what your gonna do for a living. If your going to be a veterinarian or a doctor than you should to get a feel on what its like to preform an operation. There would be no point for a kid who wants to be a florist to dissect a frog o anything besides maybe a flower. I would like to preform a real dissection because I am very interested in being a doctor.

  32. Jake G. says:

    I liked learning about this. It was very interesting and sad at the same time that so many animals were killed for a vulgar purpose like this that has an adequate substitute. Everybody should not be forced to do this. I’m thankful that since I’m currently in Florida that I have the right to object to this! I agree with everybody’s statements about this cause.
    -Jake

  33. Rachel .l says:

    So many animals have died for kids to dissect. These facts should not be true. I am glad we do virtual dissections.

  34. cayla says:

    I believe that we as middle school kids should do the dissection on a virtual form on the smart board. I think that the population on frogs are decreasing, this is mostly because dissection. We as humans should still do non-virtual dissections with animals but only if they died peacefully before, and if the person is studying to be a doctor etc…

  35. sarah.sc says:

    I think that computer simulations should be used for virtual dissection in middle school classes. From the images on this post, you can see that the virtual dissection is easier to see than real dissection, but also is very realistic looking. Some middle schools not might be able to provide virtual dissection due to the cost, but alternative options should be available to schools in all states. We have been studying the mitzvah of the ethical treatment of animals, and our class agrees that dissection on one been alive animals should only be required for college students with a career of being a doctor, surgeon, nurse, veterinarian, etc.

  36. Talya says:

    I think that disecting animals is very wrong and unecessary it is also cruel to the animals who are being disected. I think it is very wrong to disect an amimal because when you do disect an animal you do not learn anything from this it is basically just killing and innocent animal for no reason. It is very cruel to the animals because they are being killed for no reason just to see there insides. We know have 21st learning so we can just go online and do this activity you do not have to kill and animal just to see its insides.

  37. samantha.l says:

    I agree with you moral Eta. It’s really important as jewish children to follow the rules of Judaism. We may do it in high-school or collage if we want to be a doctor or a surgeon, but not if we want to be a teacher.

  38. Abigail F. says:

    Dissecting animals is a horrible thing to do. When we started talking about this in class my first thought was, “What if they give us a bad grade for refusing to do the dissection?”. Morah Eta told us that we didn’t have to do the dissection in the state of Florida. She also told us that the teachers are not allowed to give us bad grades for not doing the dissection.

    No student should have to do dissections. It breaks many Jewish laws. For people who aren’t Jewish, it just is against their nature. I agree 100% that dissections should not be mandatory.

  39. Benjamin says:

    I think dissection is cruel and inhumane. You are destroying an innocent life, and you can simply use a textbook to learn the anatomy of an animal. It’s also very disgusting, and you hardly learn anything from it. They get innocent animals from the wild, and then kill it, or dissect it alive.

    Nobody likes it, it’s gross, you don’t learn anything, it’s inhumane, and we have plenty of substitutes, like computers. We should ban dissection in schools, and maybe even entirely.

  40. Sage says:

    I believe that students should use online diagrams should use digital models to stay in line with T’zar Ba’Aley Chaim and to save the poor little creatures that were dissected.

  41. Isabell says:

    The dissection of animals is a wrong and hurtful thing towards animals. Animals have to go through being killed and cut open to just look inside. Many animals have been killed for many years, and by now people already know what every animal has inside of them by using pictures, x-ray’s and animation. By using the internet, something we’ve been blessed with in the 21st century, anyone right now could easily look up an animals dissection and use a program to look at it. Why do we have to waste an animal’s soul and memories in order to do that? It’s like saying someone bigger and stronger than a human were to pick one of us up and kill them to look inside. I guess if someone were to work as a veterinarian or doctor (in this case, a surgeon), you would have to understand how you should cut an animal or human open to undergo the surgery to make them better. There’s a difference between killing an animal and cutting them up and only cutting a person up to help them, then stitching them up. Unless necessary for a person’s career, I don’t think anyone should hurt a live animals life.

  42. Julia. D says:

    Morah Eta,
    I think that dissections are awful. They are inhumane and there is no reason to do it any more. Now that there are virtual dissections, there is no need to dissect anymore animals. With virtual dissections, you can actually see the different parts of the animal better without killing them.

    • Danny says:

      Dear Julia,
      I think virtual dissections are great exept for people who will go into the fields of science, mediacal things like doctors, and veterinarians. If they do a virtual dissection how will they gain the experience needed? Online you have do overs and you don’t need a steady hand. In real life you only have one shot to do it right. You will need a steady hand. What do you think? Please comment.

  43. Austin gardner says:

    I think it is cruel what people are doing to animals for science. Animals that are used for this are rabbits, frogs, cats, and worms. What is the reason why we are doing this at school? What is it teaching us? What I feel it is teaching us is how to be cruel to animals. Instead we should use the computer technology to do dissections on the computer instead of on animals.

  44. Allie says:

    Dear Morah Eta,
    I think that dissection is cruel to the animals. If anything the animal that they dissect should be an animal they can eat after. There are two alternatives that I know. Students could go on a field trip to a place that they dissect animals for meat. While getting meat out of the animal it can be a learning experience for children.
    The other one is virtual dissecting. Dissection on a computer is basically the same thing. Although it’s better in many ways. You don’t have to smell the animal, you don’t have to touch it, and you don’t have to kill so many animals to learn something etc.
    ~Allie

    • Ariel says:

      Dear Allie,
      I agree with almost everything that you said about dissecting animals. Dissecting animals really is cruel, and kids that don’t want to do it should be provided with an alternative. I also agree with you that dissecting animals on computers is probably better than the “real” way. That way you aren’t really dissecting an animal that was once alive. I do not agree with your idea of eating the animal.

    • Courtney Charpiat says:

      Allie I disagree about eating the animal afterwards because the animal is from the wild. Wild animals can carry diseases that can kill us humans. What if a vegetarian was dissecting an animal but the teacher says that they have to eat it, that would be against the person’s dietary choices and beliefs. So we should not eat wild dissected animals for health and dietary reasons. Also, these animals would not be kosher.
      ~Courtney

    • Eva says:

      Allie,
      I do not not agree that when you dissect an animal you can eat the animal. That’s gross. I think it could not be a great learning experience for children. And I think the alternative would be do virtual dissection. Not getting meat.
      Eva

  45. Jack H. says:

    I think that we should be doing virtual dissections because these animals are caught in the wild just to be dissected. Not only is it cruel and inhuman, it’s also against Jewish law. It is also law in many states, including Florida, that if you ask for an alternative for dissection, the have to give it to you, no questions asked, no penalties.

  46. Danny says:

    I think the idea of dissection interferes with the mitzvah the ethical treatment of animals. I think this because animals in the wild are hunted and killed by the millions just for humans to open up and learn. The guiding principle of the ethical treatment of animals states that the Benefit to humans must outweighed the harm to animals. The harm is not outweighed by the Benefit unless you are a scientist, surgeon, veterinarian, or any one in the medical field. If you are young and not in college, grad school, or medical school it isn’t ok. It is a law in many states including Florida and New New York that you can ask for an alternative in dissection without being penalized.

    • Danny says:

      I forgot to mention that dissection is one of the most cruel and inhuman things you can do if it’s not for one of those reasons.

    • Gabrielle says:

      Very thoughtful and well argued reply. I agree. I think that dissections can be valuable in teaching students in high school and college about anatomy and physiology and it can be used in medical research. I also think it should be a law in every state for children to opt out if it goes against their moral beliefs to dissect.

  47. Aleeya says:

    I don’t agree with dissections because it is gross and mean to the animal.
    The guiding principle is The benefit to human being has to outweigh the pain and suffering to the animals, so we should not dissect animals if they will be in pain.
    This relates to the ethical treatment of animals because it is the way you treat the animals. My thoughts on dissection are it’s bad it’s a bad thing to do if the animal is living and it is against the Jewish law.

  48. Ariel says:

    We are currently learning about the mitzvah of צער בעלי חיים; the ethical treatment of animals. You should respect animals and treat them kindly. If someone tells you to do something that could be hurtful to another animal, then it is your job to think of yourself in the animals place and refuse to do something harmful to that animal. There is a guiding principle that says that you should only harm an animal if you benefit more than suffering of that animal. From this I already know that I wouldn’t want to dissect any animal for some sort of project when I’m only in sixth grade! Dissecting animals should have rules, for people are killing, drying out, and then dissecting animals for random reasons. The only time that I think that it should be allowed and that I wouldn’t object to dissecting an animal, is if I am in some type of college that requires me to dissect an animal because I would need to use that information for my future job. Then I have a reason to dissect an animal. However I wouldn’t want to dissect any animals in highschool, and definitely not in middle school if an animal was killed for the cause of dissecting.

  49. Moses says:

    Currently in class I am learning about the mitzvah of the ethical treat of animals. I think most of the time it is not good for us to do stuff to animals, but as a Jew, the times that we can is when the benefit to humans outweighs the suffering of the animal. Like if we tested a cure for cancer on an animal that would be allowed, but we couldn’t test something on animals to stop snoring. I think that dissection is a terrible thing and kids should have a diffrent option in school. Do you agree with me or do you think that kids have to dissect animals?
    ~Moe

    • עידן says:

      I completely %100 agree with you and that dissection is wrong. Dissection is wrong because it is making an animal suffer for no good reason. People should use virtual dissection rather than on a real animal.

    • Moses says:

      I do agree with you Moe. However, what if scientists uncovered the cure to cancer while trying to stop snoring? What then? When I was in high school, we dissected a frog. It was not my favorite. I couldn’t take the smell and I remember not enjoying any of it. I’m sure I learned a lot but I’m afraid I cannot remember any of it. So you could assume that the poor frog lost its life for nothing.
      ~Sylvia J

  50. עידן says:

    Dissection is the complete opposite of the mitzva of צר באלי חיים- the ethical treatment of animals. We are learning about צר באלי חיים in class and why dissection is wrong. The guiding principle of צר באלי חיים is that the benefit of humans has to outweigh the pain and suffering of animals. I think that dissection is terrible because I know from experience. In second grade, I had to catch a grasshopper and then dissect it. I think that schools shouldn’t require the need for students to dissect because it is terrible. If you agree with me, please comment why you do, if you don’t agree with me please comment why you don’t.

    • Marissa K says:

      I don’t know if I agree or disagree with Aidan’s point of view. On the one side, killing an animal for the purpose of dissecting it seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Animals have feelings the same as people do. But on the other side, many medical discoveries that we use every day to improve our lives come from testing on and dissection off animals. So I am not sure where I stand in this particular area.

      • Eliana says:

        Mrs. K,
        I understand why you are unsure where you stand. Yes, the animal is suffering while you dissect it, but, we also can make important medical discoveries off of dissections. Realistically, those important medical discoveries will most likely not happen in an elementary, middle, or high school science lab. I don’t think that people who are not in med school or in school to work in a profession that needs to know about the inside of the body, then you should not be doing dissections in school. You can only dissect animals if the benefit to humans or other animals outweighs the suffering of the animal you are dissecting.
        ~Eliana

      • Yosef says:

        I agree that dissecting animals is good for finding discoveries, but I think dissecting should be for people who are in medical fields and not high schoolers. I think that it is important to dissect, but it is also important to let the animals live.

      • Moses says:

        Dear Mrs. K,
        I can see why you can’t choose if it’s good or bad to dissect animals. In my point of view I think it is only ok to dissect animals when you’re in an advanced medical field. Other then that I don’t think kids should dissect animals. How will dissecting an animal in middle school supposed to help us in science? For kids at young ages it does nothing for them to dissect a small creature. This is an area that is hard to tell if it is good or bad. But the law in the Torah that says it is only ok if the suffering of the animal is outweighed by the benefits to humans. That is why it’s ok for people in advanced medical fields but not ok for kids.
        ~Moe

      • Ariel says:

        I agree that there are pros and cons to dissecting animals. I don’t like the idea of dissecting something a lot, and I think that it is a cruel thing to do as well. It is also true that dissecting is used for science and other things. It’s something that I wouldn’t like to do, but people are allowed to dissect if they benefit more than the suffering of the animal. An example of a situation like this is in medical school, when you are learning about the parts so it can help you in the future as a doctor. Something that we shouldn’t do is catch a frog on the street and decide to dissect it. In this situation the suffering of the animal would not be able to cause any good.

    • Yosef says:

      I agree with you, kids shouldn’t dissect animals and it is wrong to take animals and dissect it if it wasn’t going to help anyone.

  51. Evag says:

    Hi Morah Eta,
    This is very against the mitzvah of צר באלי חייםץ. Which means the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The guiding principle is the benift to humans has to outweigh or be greater than the pain to the animals. I think dissection is a very cruel thing to do. Unless you are a doctor and you are going to be a very high tech surgeon. Then it’s okay, but only if it is to discover new ways to help and cure people. I am a vegetarian and I think it absolutely gross. And I am sure meat eaters are also very disgusted.
    What do you think about dissection?

  52. Ava J says:

    Facts about Dissecting:
    1. frogs, fetal pigs and cats are most common in school. Other vertebrate animals used in dissection include dogfish sharks, perch, rats, pigeons, salamanders, rabbits, mice, turtles, snakes, mink, foxes, and bats.
    2. the United States, have 17 states including Washington, D.C. Have the choice to not dissect an animal.
    3. There are more than 20 online simulations of disection instead of real live.
    4. Florida, California, Connecticut Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Illinois, Virginia, Oregon, New Jersey and Vermont. Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Mexico have Board of Education policies, and Louisiana passed a state resolution in 1992.
    My Feelings:
    1. Feel that you should only have to dissect if it is required for you job.
    2. At my school you do not have to dissect any animal.
    3. Florida has the choice to not dissect and I agree.

    What do you feel about dissection?

  53. Courtney Charpiat says:

    The mitzvah “צער בעלי חיים – The Ethical Treatment of Animals” , dissection of a innocent animal has nothing to do with the ethical treatment of animals. The guiding principle is if the benefit of humans outweigh the pain and suffering of animals. 12 MILLION animals are killed during dissection in school. Sadly 99% of animals are captured from the wild and their habitats. Now 18 states provide alternatives for those who don’t want to dissect an innocent being. Israel banned dissection of any animal in their school because of ” The Ethical Treatment of Animals.” I think all grade levels are not old enough or have not decided what they are going to be in the future should not do dissections. So if you are going into a medical field, I would agree with the idea of dissection.

    Feel free comment on my comment if you disagree or agree!

  54. Anna F. says:

    The Mitzvah of צער בעלי חיים is the ethical treatment of animals. The guiding principle is if the benefit to humans outweighs the pain and suffering to the animal. I think that dissection should be prohibited, unless you are training to become a doctor who has to preform surgeries. Also, dissections should be allowed to advance science. However, scientists should use animals that have already died. My mom dissected a mussel, a frog, a fetal pig, and a human. My dad dissected a frog and a worm.
    Some facts about dissection:
    1. California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington DC, have state laws allowing K-12 students the right to opt for an alternative instead of participating in animal dissection.
    2. Virtual dissections are available for many types of animals and are both effective for training purposes and cost effective as well.

  55. Denise Sherman (Anna F.'s mom) says:

    It is important to dissect animals to learn their anatomy. I dissected a mussel, a frog and a fetal pig in Biology class. None of these animals were as complex as the human body which I dissected in Anatomy class in Medical School. It would be nearly impossible to provide great medical care without this knowledge.

    • עידן says:

      Dr. Sherman, I disagree with you because people should not have to dissect animals in elementary school, middle school, and high school. Kids do not need to know how to dissect animals if they are never going to use that knowledge in life. But if they do use it in life, they should only dissect in college, because an animal does not have to die so that your science teacher can teach you about the organs. People should be using virtual dissections instead.

    • Danny says:

      I think everything your saying is true except, is it really nessasary to start dissection in middle school? I think you should start dissection at high school if you are entering a medical field. In middle school you should do a virtual dissection. This way you have experience and your not just killing the animals. In middle school you should do a virtual dissection. This way, you won’t kill animals and you will still learn. If you do a virtual dissection in a medical field you won’t be as prepared as you should be. There are no do overs in real dissection. You need a steady hand. In a virtual dissection, you can screw up and press restart.

    • Anna F. says:

      Mom,
      Although it is important to dissect to become a doctor, is it important to dissect in middle school? If you dissect in middle school, would you remember exactly how to do it and all the information that your teacher taught you about it? I wouldn’t remember anything after all those years. If you don’t remember anything, than it would be wasting the animal. It would be against the guiding principle of the benefit to the humans outweighs the pain and suffering to the animals. I think that in middle school your teacher should have to give you an alternative option in all states, not just the 18 states that allow it.

    • Courtney Charpiat says:

      Dr. Sherman, I totally agree about dissection to prepare to be in a medical field, but I feel that dissection is not necessary in elementary, middle or high schools. I understand that you need to learn about anatomy in school, but sometimes it won’t be useful in some certain jobs. I agree and disagree at the same time. Also, dissection is very useful when you’re in medical school.
      ~Courtney

    • Eva says:

      Dr. Sherman,
      I do agree that dissection is important when you are going to be becoming a surgeon. When dissecting in middle and high school you should always be given a virtual dissection choice. Regular dissection is just cruel and we should try our best to stop as much as we can.
      ~Eva

    • Ava J says:

      Dr. Sherman,
      I feel that the only reason someone should dissect is if you need it for your job. And the animal is only used if it benefits the human more than the suffering of an animal. So if you were testing a medicine if snoring works than there is no reason to kill and animal, but if you are testing a treatment for cancer than you can kill than animal. So I agree that the dissection is only important for anatomy.

      ~Ava J

    • Daisy H says:

      Hi Dr.Sherman,
      I disagree with you that people should dissect animals. For one, you could use simulated dissections, so that you are only killing one animal a year instead of six million. But, I do think that since you are a doctor, it was helpful for you medical care. Do you know the guiding principle the ethical treatment of animals? If the benefit of people outweighs the pain and suffering of an animal, you may dissect, but in this case it does not.
      Sincerely,
      Daisy 😉

  56. Yakov Feig (Anna F.'s dad) says:

    I remember dissecting a frog and a worm in High School. I believe that we were told that we only used frogs that had died a natural death. However, I have no way of knowing for sure that this was really the case. I understand that sometimes dissections are important for educational purposes or for medical research. However, if there are perfectly good alternatives such as virtual dissection available, why shouldn’t we use them when it is possible? It is our responsibility as Jews and as good citizens of this planet to take care of our animal populations.

  57. Daisy H says:

    I think that dissection of animals is totally un-called for. If you really want to know how animals are dissected, simply watch a video. There are way too many animals that are dead, because of dissection. Did you know that the guiding principle is if humans outweigh the pain and suffering of an animal? Dissection does not outweigh the pain and suffering of an animal. Actually, Isreal banned dissection. I think that you can ONLY dissect an animal if you are in the medical or veterinarian field. Overall, I think that dissection is a cruel way for people to learn science.
    What do you think?
    -Daisy 🙂

  58. Eliana says:

    Doing dissections and vivisections don’t go along with the mitzvah of צער בעלי חיים The Ethical Treatment of Animals. The guiding principle of this mitzvah is if the benefit to humans outweighs the suffering of the animal,you can do it. I think that doing dissections or vivisections in elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools are unnecessary. You can learn about the inside of animals by doing a computer program instead of dissecting a once living or living thing. The places that kill animals for dissections only kill the amount of animals that schools order. I do think that it is okay for med schools to dissect animals because they need to know about the inside of the body to do their jobs. Veterinarians, surgeons, and people who work in certain fields of science that need to know about the inside of the body can do dissections because by doing their jobs, they will help humans and animals, and their benefit outweighs that one animal’s suffering. Currently, eighteen states in the U.S. have a law where if schools are doing dissections and a few kids don’t want to do the dissections, they have to have an alternate activity that can teach them the same thing, like doing a computer program. Doing dissections and vivisections are not good, and if I ever have to do a dissection and I live in one of the eighteen states where students have to be provided with an alternate activity, I will definitely not do the dissection.
    ~Eliana

  59. Karianne J says:

    I feel that vivisections are inhumane, however there are benefits and advantages to dissections in High School. Depending on the student’s interest they should been given the choice at that level whether they want to participate in a virtual or real dissection. For interested students, it provides valuable practice with tools that doctors and clinicians use and a real world kinesthetic experience that cannot be replaced in a virtual practice. They are practicing a lab technique and building skills that can’t be learned otherwise. If left to college, students without high school experience could be working at a disadvantage.

  60. Lynda says:

    I didn’t enjoy dissection when I was in Middle School. Fortunately for you, there are wonderful dissection tutorials available online so you can learn in a non-intrusive way. The 3-D tutorials are my favorite.

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