Millions of frogs, cats, pigs, and more animals annually suffer and die for dissection. With the advent of non-animal teaching tools such as interactive computer software, no school needs to dissect. In fact, non-animal tools are safer (no toxic formaldehyde), more affordable and relevant.
Currently, some 13 Miami-Dade high schools dissect cats. Each cat costs $32 to $82 for one-time usage. Dead cats often originate in shelters that gas animals. Death by gassing is illegal in Florida.
Conversely, computerized, 3D dissections can be used multiple times. Ten years ago Broward County eliminated cat dissection because kids had an emotional connection to a family pet," says JP Keener, Broward's Supervisor of Science Education. Studies show that students who learn via virtual
dissection out-perform those who do conventional dissection.
I respectfully ask Miami-Dade's School Board to consider a district-wide ban on dissection. At the very least, please enact a student choice policy with non-animal options. As a leader in humane education, Miami-Dade would project an image of compassion -- attractive not only to residents, but also tourists and businesses. On the other hand, continuance of cat dissection in Miami-Dade schools offends potential vacationers and shoppers, especially those with companion animals.
Dissection objectifies animals and shows students that cruelty is no big deal. Indeed, a troubled child who dismembers an "already dead" animal may gain the confidence to torture a live one. Florida's serial cat killer, Tyler Weinman, dissected cats at his Miami-Dade high school before brutally killing 19 companion cats. Teens like Weinman who "practice" on animals commonly graduate to violent crimes against humans.
With so many humane alternatives in the feline area alone -- Anatomy of the Cat Video/DVD; BioLab Cat; Cat Dissection Library; CatLab; Catworks; Common House Cat Skull; Pregnant Cat Model; Dissection Video Series: Cat; etc. -- there is no reason to still dissect cats or other animals.