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