Stop Dissection of Cats by 15 year old Palm Beach County Students
  • Petitioning E. Wayne Gent

This petition will be delivered to:

Superintendent of Palm Beach County Schools
E. Wayne Gent
Florida Department of Education
Gerald Robinson
Vice Chairman Palm Beach County School Board
Debra Robinson, MD
Palm Beach County School Board
Palm Beach County School Board
decides on choice program curriculum
Miguel Benavente, M.D.
Florida Governor
Florida State Senate
Florida State House

Stop Dissection of Cats by 15 year old Palm Beach County Students

    1. Terri Cavanaugh
    2. Petition by

      Terri Cavanaugh

      LW, FL

High school students taking part in the medical sciences programs in Palm Beach County and Dade County schools continue to dissect cats as part of the county approved coursework. Many of these students are not planning to be surgeons or veterinarians and are at the preliminary stage of exploring the medical field. Although the school has access to technology that simulates a dissection, the school still plans to proceed with the tradition of feline dissection. 

Neighboring Broward County eliminated the practice of dissecting real animals years ago. J.P. Keener, supervisor of sciences education in Broward County stated, ''We ran into problems years ago with kids that had an emotional connection to a family pet so we long since eliminated it. “ (though at advanced levels, the district still conducts dissections on frogs and fetal pigs).

Broward science teachers have found success with computerized three-dimensional virtual dissections. These virtual dissections are already being used and are available in Palm Beach County Schools but only if the parent writes a letter explaining why their child cannot dissect a real cat. Furthermore, there is no real connection or benefit to conducting animal dissections in order to understand the human body. It is a well known fact by now that animal experimentation, research, vivisection, testing and dissection in hopes of understanding human anatomy do not work. 

"Normally, animal experiments not only fail to contribute to the safety of medications, but they even have the opposite effect."                                                                                   - Dr. Kurt Fickentscher of the Pharmacological Institute of the University of Bonn, Germany. Diagnosen, March 1980

"Animal experimentation is not necessary. It is expensive. It is inaccurate. It is misleading. It consumes limited resources. And further, it is detrimental to the very species it professes to be working to help -- humankind."
-Dr.s Ray & Jean Greek, Sacred Cows and Golden Geese, 2000, p 223 

I am the mother of a 15 year old son in the 9th grade at Lake Worth High School, in Palm Beach County. At his young age, my son already knew this barbaric tradition was wrong and has chosen to opt out and fulfill the requirement by performing a virtual dissection. I have written a request to be contacted as well as I have called his teacher, Dr. Garcia of Lake Worth High School and have left two messages for him to call me which went unanswered. My son is worried that the outcome of this petition will cause him to fail in his medical career before it has even begun. The situation at school has placed tremendous stress on my son and other students who wish to advocate for the animals and feel this is wrong. What a sad practice that may hold others back from entering the field of medicine. All his life, I have taught my son to respect life, all animals and humans yet the Palm Beach County School system seeks to undermine our views and single out those who speak up. I beg you, sign the petition. We must end this unnecessary and barbaric practice immediately. Dissection is an archaic tradition that dates back to the 1400s. There already exist humane, cost-effective and high-tech, educational alternatives.

‎"It seems to me of great importance to teach children respect for life. Towards this end, experiments on living animals in classrooms should be stopped. To encourage cruelty in the name of science can only destroy the finer emotions of affection and sympathy and breed an unfeeling callousness in the young towards suffering in all living creatures." - Eleanor Roosevelt, writer, diplomat, former First Lady (1884-1962)  

"In ninth grade biology class, we had the usual dissection of fetal pigs. I took home the skeleton. Started branching out with dogs, cats—I suppose it could have turned into a normal hobby like taxidermy, but instead it became this. I don't know why. It became a compulsion.”  - Jeffery Dahmer, one of America's most infamous cannibal serial killers during one of his last televised interviews on Dateline NBC.

"It is the outrageous lie of the supporters of vivisection, a lie serious in its consequences, that animal experiments take place for the good of mankind. The opposite is the case: animal experiments only have an alibi function for the purpose of obtaining money, power and titles. Not one single animal experiment has ever succeeded in prolonging or improving, let alone saving, the life of one single person."
-Dr. Heide Evers, D-7800 Freidburg, 1982

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 6,000 signatures
    2. Reached 5,000 signatures
    3. Current board members do not care about Animals. (continued)

      Terri Cavanaugh
      Petition Organizer

      On 07/24/12 1:29 PM, Terri Cavanaugh wrote:
      I realize that. The only way to get him out of the dissection was to write a letter explaining that my child would not have to dissect a cat. Some of the children were titillated by the mere thought of slicing up a cat. Shouldn't we teach children love, respect and kindness towards animals rather than experimentation and abuse? Do you plan to stop this practice which has alternative humane options already available and was found to be detrimental to students and the learning process in neighboring Broward County?
      Can I have your commitment to end this practice in Palm Beach County Schools?
      On 07/24/12 2:00 PM, Lowell Levine wrote:
      I will speak up and recommend to end this barbaric practice
      On 07/24/12 2:04 PM, Terri Cavanaugh wrote:
      Thank you so much, Mr. Levine.
      I will be sure to post this to both my social media pages as well as to my petition update in hopes you will win the seat on the school board and bring an end to this matter

    4. Current board members do not care about Animals. VOTE THEM OUT!

      Terri Cavanaugh
      Petition Organizer

      On 07/05/12 10:45 AM, Lowell Levine wrote:
      On 07/24/12 12:26 PM, Terri Cavanaugh wrote:
      I wrote to you nearly 3 weeks ago asking where you stood on the issue of cat dissection by high school students in Palm Beach county. I have not gotten a response. My son was bullied and removed from the classroom because he refused to dissect a cat during his freshman year of high school last year. I am a registered voter in Palm Beach County who will vote for the candidate who fights to end this barbaric practice. Please respond and tell me where you stand.
      On 07/24/12 12:56 PM, Lowell Levine wrote:
      If a student refuses to dissect an animal for whatever reason he should be respected for that decision .. He definitely should not have been bullied.
      ( be continued)

    5. Reached 4,000 signatures
    6. We have failed... the cat dissections have taken place, but we cannot stop!

      Terri Cavanaugh
      Petition Organizer

      Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the the Humane Society of the United States has spoken directly with me on this issue and has committed to help us end this horrific practice which is desensitizing our children and allowing the institutionalized torture and killing of cats to continue unnecessarily. We must keep fighting to protect the animals and our children. Chopping up cats for science in high school IS NOT OK! Please share everywhere you can!

    7. Update: Procedure to take place next week!

      Terri Cavanaugh
      Petition Organizer

      Dear Friends,
      Thank you for your support. I truly appreciate your help but they are planning to move forward with their current curriculum. We are now petitioning the state of Florida to end this horrific practice. The dissection is being planned for next week. The school simply waited until we went away and the noise we made had dissipated. Please, share and help stop high school freshmen from dissecting animals that are kept as pets and all animals during a high school student's education.
      Thank you.

    8. Are they waiting for us to go away???

      Terri Cavanaugh
      Petition Organizer

      This was scheduled to be done two weeks ago and at least Lake Worth High (unsure of other Palm Beach County Schools) has still not completed the dissection of cats. They may just be waiting for us to go away and keep going on their normal business as usual route. Thank you all for your support but please don't stop now! Keep sharing my petition. We cannot be let this continue and must make sure this practice is ended for good.

    9. It's working!

      Terri Cavanaugh
      Petition Organizer

      Please keep sharing our petition. We are making a difference! According to my son the class has not dissected cats as of yet. The dissection was supposed to have happened last week. PLEASE don't let this petition die. I encourage you all to find out what is going on in your local schools, such as the university professor in Ohio who is creating heart attacks in dogs only to verify well known information such as heart attacks in dogs can be caused by exertion. We must study animals only when the animals' best interest is the purpose of the study and certainly not by children who have no interest in animal study.
      Thank you all, and let's keep this going!

    10. Spoke to the teacher and principal...

      Terri Cavanaugh
      Petition Organizer

      I called the superintendent & spoke to his assistant, who had no idea the schools dissected cats. She took my information & referred me to Miguel Benavente, MD. He defines the curriculum used in the medical sciences classes. II called & left a message for him.
      I then called the school &received a prompt return call from the principal who said my son would not have to preform the dissections. She expressed she loved animals & was not the one who approved this type of curriculum. "Your doing the right thing (petitioning the school board) if you want to change school policy."
      I almost immediately received a call from the teacher who explained that he had always helped my son in the past. He told me that he did not make the curriculum, only followed the rules. I expressed my concern over the excitement & titillation some of the kids felt about dissection of a cat. Also was told that the cats are sold to the schools by a company who supplies animals for use in schools and universities.

    11. Reached 3,000 signatures
    12. mandatory letter to excuse my son from this horrific practice

      Terri Cavanaugh
      Petition Organizer

      Dr. Garcia,
      I am shocked and outraged that in this day and age, there still exists the use of animals for dissection in schools. Furthermore, I am appalled that an animal many students have as a beloved family pet will be dissected by impressionable high school freshmen. This same practice was eliminated many years ago in Broward county due to the stress and the detrimental effects it had on students.
      Needless to say, my son...will not participate in the mutilation of any animal during his academic career at Lake Worth High School. Any attempt to cause stress, harm or isolation to my son will result in legal action which I am prepared to take.
      This being said, I realize you alone do not control the curriculum for this course in Palm Beach County Schools and I have petitioned the individuals in order to end this horrific tradition. I have left you messages throughout the day on Friday and I expect a phone call from you by end of day on Monday.
      Terri Cavanaugh

    13. Reached 2,500 signatures
    14. We are about 20% of the way there but with only one more day left!

      Terri Cavanaugh
      Petition Organizer

      We need you to speak out! Keep sharing, please!

    15. Reached 2,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • jimmy smith GTTXRKD, GA
      • 11 days ago

      WHAT THE FUCKING HELL IF WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!!!!! this is no way to treat a once graceful and beautiful creature! Give it some honor and some respect!

    • Juliette Prowse RICHMOND, CANADA
      • 16 days ago

      seriously? This teacher is a POS

      • 27 days ago





    • Joao Soares ODIVELAS, PORTUGAL
      • about 1 month ago

      All animal molesters should take the exact same punishment - in double.

    • Diana Shelton MARTINSVILLE, IN
      • about 1 month ago

      We have modern technology that renders dissections obsolete. There is no need to kill and dissect animals. I swear, if they gave me a cat to dissect, I would have given them a proper burial instead.


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