- Jeff DietzCulpeper County High School
- Dara DodsonAnatomy Instructor
- Elizabeth OuelletteScience Department Chair
- Dr. Tony BradsCulpeper County Schools Superintendent
My daughter doesn't want to skin a cat
When my daughter Brynnan transferred to Culpeper High School in Virginia this year, she was excited that they offered an anatomy class. She wanted to learn more about the human body and how it worked, but her excitement quickly turned to shock and distress.
“Mom, they want me to skin and dissect a CAT,” she told me. “The teacher told us if we have a black cat at home, pick a white cat and vice versa. Like the color of their fur changes how I feel about ripping the fur from a cat who—no matter what—will remind me of my baby Sparta!”
I was horrified. We discussed how to handle it, and she begged me to let her homeschool instead. As a new student, she already felt alone, and the thought of taking a stand in a class full of strangers was something that caused her more anguish.
Whether she silently took part in skinning and dissecting a companion animal—something that would cause her immense psychological pain—or stood against the practice and further alienated herself from the other students, she was facing trauma either way.
Eventually, I decided it was best to pull her from the high school. As her parent, it is my duty to protect her, first and foremost, and I didn’t want my daughter to go through such a traumatizing event. Now, I want to make sure that other children don’t have to experience something so traumatic as dissecting a pet. I will start with Brynnan’s school district, but I won’t stop there. Will you join me in asking the Culpeper County Public Schools (CCPS) to ban cat dissection in their classrooms?
Cats are the most popular companion animal in the United States, outnumbering dogs by some 15 million. To expect students to skin and cut up the very same animal that they may sleep with at night is cruel and inhumane, both to the cats and to the students forced to maim them.
There are many alternatives to dissection, including online or computer simulations and 3-D models. It’s time for CCPS in Virginia to put into practice the humane message they should be sending to all students. Please stand with Brynnan and myself to demand an end to cat dissection in the classroom.
- Culpeper County High School
- Anatomy Instructor
- Science Department Chair
- Culpeper County Schools Superintendent
Dr. Tony Brads
I am appalled to learn that Culpeper High School, along with schools across the country, is still choosing the archaic and barbaric practice of cat dissection in the classroom. I stand with Tamira Thayne and her daughter Brynnan, as well as other students who've been traumatized by the practice, in insisting that Culpeper County High School end cat skinning and dissection and institute humane practices such as online or computer techniques or 3-D modeling.
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