PSUSD stop using animals for biology courses!

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My name is Lux Hunsinger and I have been in the Palm Springs Unified School District since 2013. 

I am, and have been, appalled that a barbaric practice such as mutilating dead animals is still being used as a method of education in public schools. In the PSUSD, students in 8th grade are made to dissect an earthworm, a sheep eyeball, and a frog. In high school, they are made to dissect a baby pig. 

Surely there are other ways to teach students about the biology of animals, thanks to technological advances and computer programs. I believe that NO living being, no matter if it’s an earthworm, or a piglet, deserves to be killed in the name of science. There are other ways to learn about biology of living beings! Having middle schoolers and high schoolers mutilate animals is disgusting and outdated. This disgusting and barbaric practice needs to be terminated NOW. 

Here is some more information pertaining to dissection in schools, from Last Chance for Animals:

Where are animals used for dissection aquired from? 

The wild – The majority are taken from their natural habitats. Many species of amphibians and reptiles, especially frogs, are declining at an alarming rate. Although this decline is caused mostly by habitat destruction and pollution, the removal of species for dissection worsens the problem. Other species generally taken from their natural environment include turtles, snakes, fish (usually perch), dogfish sharks, earthworms, crayfish, salamanders, and most invertebrates.

Breeding facilities – Breeding facilities purposely breed animals for dissection.

Slaughterhouses – Fetal pigs, for one, are a "by-product" of the meat packing industry, in which animals are slaughtered for human consumption. They are removed from pregnant sows who will be killed to produce pork.

Fur ranches - Skinned minks, foxes, and rabbits come from fur ranches.

Pet stores

Shelters and pounds

Animal dealers and thieves – Class B animal dealers obtain cats, dogs, and other animals from “random sources.” Many steal companion animals from their guardian’s backyard and sell the animals to research labs or dissection companies.

Other countries – Cats, for instance, have been purchased in Mexico, only to be killed (by being drowned or having their throats slit), then sent to the U.S. for distribution.

What happens to the animals used for dissection?

Some animals, such as amphibians and reptiles, may suffocate or become crushed during transportation to biological supply companies; most of the animals used for dissection are killed and “processed” at such companies. Undercover investigations have revealed animal abuse at biological supply companies. Frogs, for instance, may be piled into bags for days or even weeks while still alive. Rats may be embalmed alive. Cats may be forcibly injected with preserving fluids after being only partially euthanized, thrown into gas chambers, or drowned.

The Effect on the Environment

When one type of animal is removed from an ecosystem, the entire food chain is affected. Frogs, for example, naturally consume many insects. With so many frogs disappearing (as a result of habitat destruction, pollution, and dissection), the insect populations have risen substantially. Because there are more insects, there is greater use of pesticides, which can damage the water supply and food chain.

Types of Classes in which Dissection is Taught

Miscellaneous science courses

The Danger to Students

Animals used in dissection are often embalmed with formaldehyde, a chemical preservative which can damage the eyes and cause asthma attacks and bronchitis. Moreover, the chemical has been linked to cancer of the throat, lungs, and nasal passages. Symptoms of formaldehyde exposure include eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation; a persistent cough and other respiratory ailments; a headache; and nausea and dizziness.