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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't been around these forums in ages sadly, but I'm in sort of a dilemma and thought you guys might be able to give me some advice.<br><br>
I'm a few years out of high school now and I finally decided it's about time I start college. I'm actually excited for it, and I've decided on a degree in nursing.<br><br>
The nursing program at my school has 3 lab prerequisites....which of course means dissection. I did a little bit of research on humane alternatives, and PETA gives some great resources and advice on the matter, but I want some more opinions.<br><br>
I'm currently working on an email to send to each of the teachers for those classes. I'm hoping that they will be willing to work with me on the matter, but I am worried that they won't. I mentioned the issue to my mom (who isn't vegan), and she said that they may be uncomfortable with me going into the nursing program, never having dissected anything in lab. In some strange way, I get her point. Nurses do sometimes assist in surgery, so I need to be familiar with that sort of thing (and even <i>I</i> wouldn't be comfortable working on a human for my first time).<br><br>
I feel really stressed about this...registration is coming up soon so I don't have a lot of time to figure everything out. I don't want to compromise my ethics, but I also don't want to give up on my dream. Please help! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/huh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":huh:">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>SingMeToSleep</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2929040"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Nurses do sometimes assist in surgery, so I need to be familiar with that sort of thing (and even <i>I</i> wouldn't be comfortable working on a human for my first time).</div>
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Dissection of animals really isn't going to help you with assisting in surgery. If you think you're going to be intubating animals in your lab or something, that's not dissection, it's extremely cruel, and most med students don't even have to do that to animals anymore, I believe.<br><br>
If you feel you need to do some dissection of someone, try to get into a cadaver lab somewhere. Or see if you can arrange to observe some surgeries in a trauma unit. Some trauma surgeons will let you shadow them <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
I do not think you should do dissection or any kind of animal abuse to purse a health care profession.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh I didn't even think of intubating animals or anything like that...that would just be awful! I just meant regular dissection, but of course that still isn't something I'd feel good about participating in. Well hopefully I can find at least 3 teachers who will pass me in their lab classes without doing dissection, or they'll agree to let me do a virtual one instead. It's not so much of an issue that I feel like I need to do dissection...it was just something I started wondering about after my mom brought it up. I probably don't need to worry about that, though.
 

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I got a solid A in both my A&P classes. I admit to doing some of the dissection on individual animal parts. (it was over 20 years ago and I would not today) I refused the cat dissection and didn't go to lab those days. I was not the only one and my teacher said every semester there was at least one refusal. They did have a dissected cat on permanent display. My school did not have human cadavers.<br><br>
I think you could plead out of dissection on ethical issues and still pass the class. It was actually a smaller part of our lab studies.
 

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PCRM reported:<br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">American medical schools have also seen a rapid decline in the use of animals. As of June 2008, only eight out of 154 U.S. medical schools still use live animals to teach students. The last of the traditional dog labs ended in 2007, and PCRM is working diligently to end the remaining labs using pigs and other animals. All nine new medical schools opening from 2007 through 2009 have established animal-free curricula, confirming that the medical education standard no longer includes the use of animals. The American College of Surgeons, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and the American Medical Student Association now actively support the replacement of animals in medical education.</div>
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<br><a href="http://www.pcrm.org/newsletter/jul08/victory.html" target="_blank">http://www.pcrm.org/newsletter/jul08/victory.html</a><br><br>
So, I gather from that info that when you look to which schools to apply to you <b>simply ask them if they offer alternatives to dissection</b>. If you go to a new nursing school, it appears that you'll have plenty of animal-friendly options. Just make sure you stick to your convictions and arm youself with suitable alternatives.<br><br>
Some resources for you...<br>
An alternative for learning about surgical procedures: <a href="http://www.traumatraining.org/" target="_blank">http://www.traumatraining.org/</a><br>
Info for medical students opposed to dissection and animal labs: <a href="http://www.pcrm.org/resch/meded/ethics_med_WYCD.html" target="_blank">http://www.pcrm.org/resch/meded/ethics_med_WYCD.html</a><br>
A dissection alternative program that you can borrow for free: <a href="http://www.animalearn.org/sciencebank.php" target="_blank">http://www.animalearn.org/sciencebank.php</a>
 

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Riot Nrrrd
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An issue close to my heart. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
In 1992 I completed a BA in Biology (and English, but that's irrelevant here) at the University of Minnesota. I refused to dissect. Here's some suggestions/hints/whatever:<br><br>
You're off to a good start. Communicating with your instructors is a necessary first step. A good strategy is to offer suggestions of non-animal methods for completing the course objectives. The less the instructor feels you are expecting from them, the more likely you are to succeed with a minimum of hassle. You should find out exactly what material is to be covered. Suggesting a model frog is unlikely to be seen as useful if the lab involves dissection of a fetal pig.<br><br>
I cannot stress this enough: you WILL need to demonstrate relevant mastery of the material! You should make clear that you understand and accept that responsibility. Note I said 'relevant'. Knowing how to do dissection is not itself relevant. In most programs dissection is intended to help you learn gross anatomy - the form and function of anatomical features (educationally at least - culturally it is more akin to a blood rite of passage acknowledging and demonstrating submission to a reductionist secular theology [there's your over educated showoff phrase of the day <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> ]). While you accept ownership of the educational objective, you reject the method with which you are being asked to achieve this objective.<br><br>
When it comes time to demonstrate that you've learned if you're lucky the test will be text questions. No issue there. More likely you will be shown a dissected animal or animals with organs marked with pins or something similar. This may be uncomfortable BUT provided a 'specimen' is not specially 'prepared' for you I'd reccomend taking the test in the same way as everybody else. Differentiate between actions made by or for you and actions that 'benefit' [ha!] the entire class.<br><br>
Which suggests one approach which may or may not be acceptable to you - watching a different student dissect, but not doing so yourself. I can definately see this other student becoming resentful and the instructor being suspicious of your motivation, though, so watch out for that if you go this route.<br><br>
I went to the first day of lab to confirm my registration, and the final day to take the assessment. The deal I worked out with my professor was that I do whatever I needed to do to learn the material on my own and take the final exam and would be excused from lab attendence.<br><br>
He was somewhat amused by my objection but not hostile. His only real concern was that I learn the material and take the final. I took the test and got an A. I learned the material by studying the Zoology Coloring Book drawings of the species dissected in the lab. Ultimately I had as great an understanding of the material as students who dissected (in actuality greater).<br><br>
I'll let everyone digest all that for now. No doubt I'll blather on more about it later.<br><br>
Zoology Coloring Book @ Amazon: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=veggieboards.com-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FZoology-Coloring-Book-Lawrence-Elson%2Fdp%2F0064603016%2Fref%3Dsr_1_2%3Fs%3Dbooks%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1309651968%26sr%3D1-2" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Zoology-Colori...9651968&sr=1-2</a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice, everyone. All the links were especially helpful! It's nice to hear a success story with this situation, too...it gives me some hope.<br><br>
One of the teachers emailed me back this morning. This is what she said:<br><br>
"<i>I respect and appreciate your views on dissection. In fact, we have reduced dissections to only two labs during the semester. We have dealt with your situation several times in the past. You are not required to actively participate in the dissection process. You are required to be in the room during the dissections, and be able to answer the questions in your lab from what you observe. There is no alternative assignment that is offered. Be assured, our biology faculty is committed to treating animals humanely.</i>"<br><br><br>
Well, I'm happy they're leaning in the right direction by reducing dissections and not requiring DIRECT participation....but I'm still not very happy with participation by watching. I emailed her again, kindly explaining this and offering some alternatives, so I guess all I can do is wait and see what she says. If she can't help me any further, I will probably talk to someone higher up and see if I can get a dissection CHOICE policy for the school. It's a small(ish) community college, so it's not like an actual nursing school that has alternative methods already established. Anyway, I realized there's actually 4 lab classes I'll have to take. So unless I can get a teacher from each course to agree with me, it would be a lot better to just get a choice policy for myself and future students of the school. I really hope my persistence will pay off.<br><br>
Oh! I almost forgot about one of the automatic out of office replies I got from a different teacher. It addressed a number of common issues, including these:<br><br>
"<i>We do dissection of preserved specimens in this class. Participation<br>
is a requirement to pass BIO 140. If you are pregnant you are advised<br>
to speak with a health care provider about exposure to the<br>
preservatives we use. The Allied Health programs students will enter<br>
support the use of dissection materials as it provides a realistic,<br>
necessary experience with organs and tissues for students who plan to<br>
care for human lives.</i>"<br><br>
And for another one of her classes:<br>
"<i>This class does use rats and frogs for experimentation, and<br>
participation is required. The Allied Health programs students will<br>
enter support the use of dissection materials as it provides a<br>
realistic, necessary experience with organs and tissues for students<br>
who plan to care for human lives.</i>"<br><br>
That was discouraging to say the least.... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":(">
 

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Riot Nrrrd
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What school is this program at? Your options will vary a bit depending on if it is a public or private school.<br><br>
Actually I don't need the school name so much as whether it is publicly funded or not.<br><br>
Or if you don't want to name the school out in the open here feel free to send me a private message.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>realistic, necessary experience with organs and tissues for students who plan to care for human lives.</i></div>
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Realistic? Frogs and rats? For people? (But don't say that to them. Don't wanna have that conversation. Not yet anyway.)<br><br>
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You might want to find a copy of Vivisection and Dissection in the Classroom by Gary Francione and Anna Charlton. Amazon has used copies for $4 or so: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=veggieboards.com-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Foffer-listing%2F1881699005%2Fsr%3D1-1%2Fqid%3D1309664356%2Fref%3Dolp_tab_used%3Fie%3DUTF8%26coliid%3D%26me%3D%26qid%3D1309664356%26sr%3D1-1%26seller%3D%26colid%3D%26condition%3Dused" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listi...condition=used</a> It's a little old (ohmyGod 19 YEARS???) but a good read.<br><br>
A PDF outlining the basic argument that has been successfully used is here: <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CDkQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hsvma.org%2Fpdf%2Fresources%2Fstudents-rights.pdf&rct=j&q=rutgers%20animal%20law%20center%20dissection&ei=CeYPTqcMrdeIAt2_0PQN&usg=AFQjCNEjaB-Lbc4MWuiSChwtEITb1QlNXA&cad=rja" target="_blank">http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...1QlNXA&cad=rja</a><br><br>
The phone #s and stuff are likely out of date, so this is more for your information. Probably don't wanna mention or even necessarily consider legal remedies yet, but I imagine knowing they are there would be encouraging.<br><br>
And a handbook from the National AntiVivisection Society (US) on conscientious objection to dissection: <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBYQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.navs.org%2Fsite%2FDocServer%2Fcollegebooklet.pdf%3FdocID%3D162&rct=j&q=dissection%20objection%20college&ei=T-kPTsHiNubjiALG5IDODQ&usg=AFQjCNGpc2zXwOGNS2n0S1M2oeeRjjNLbA&cad=rja" target="_blank">http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...jjNLbA&cad=rja</a> Again I don't know if the hotline still operates.<br><br>
Again I'm getting a little longwinded <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> Just two quick suggestions:<br><br>
1) Keep copies of any correspondence you send or receive. Never know when you might need it.<br>
2) Avoid mentioning any national groups like PeTA or even PCRM. You never know if the person you're talking to has negative feelings towards such groups.
 

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Stick to your guns - things will never change unless those who care make it happen <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>SingMeToSleep</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2929504"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Be assured, our biology faculty is committed to treating animals humanely.</div>
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I'm assured that it's not humane to purpose-breed animals, experiment on them, and kill them when you feel like it. I have never seen a lab situation that I would remotely describe as humane for those animals. Humans have got no business violating and destroying the bodies and lives of these animals because...they're more powerful and they can. I don't want people caring for my health who are so heartless to helpless and innocent life. You're doing the right thing.
 

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If you lived in the UK I reckon the university would be obliged to cater for you, because it's a human right to have your own beliefs.<br><br>
Have you looked into the Open University nursing degree? I know it's British but they accept foreign students.<br><br>
I wish I could be of more help <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("><br><br>
Edit - you could say you're pregnant!! Hopefully those rats and frogs they talk of (which bare no resemblance to humans) are dead before they mutilate them.
 
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