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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So in a few weeks, we're dissecting a fetal pig in Biology, taken from pigs slaughtered for food. I've never dissected anything before, though my 7th grade science class made us dissect a frog. I couldn't do it or watch, so I just handled the paper aspect of the lab so I didn't need to cut it or anything. However, I want to be a vet some day, and I wonder if I'll have to dissect animals for that. I just feel very torn about what to do. It's going to be strict and we have to take part to get a grade, as our groups will only be 2 people this time. Have you had to dissect a pig for Biology? Did you, or did you feel like you were going against being veg*n?
 

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If you're going to be a vet, you will eventually have to dissect in school. No way around that. :\\ Normally cats euthanized from shelters. My mom's old friend dissected a cat for school, and they found that she was pregnant.


My 7th grade class had to dissect a pickle, worm, frog, and we'd watch the teacher dissect a fetal pig. I wrote a paper to get out of the frog/pig. My freshman year we were going to dissect a cow's heart. Didn't do that.

If you don't want to dissect, you do not have to, and I'm pretty sure the school can not make you (what if you were 'sick' that day?). PETA has a good bit of information about these kinds of situations that you can use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puppet Master View Post

If you're going to be a vet, you will eventually have to dissect in school. No way around that. :\\ Normally cats euthanized from shelters. My mom's old friend dissected a cat for school, and they found that she was pregnant.


My 7th grade class had to dissect a pickle, worm, frog, and we'd watch the teacher dissect a fetal pig. I wrote a paper to get out of the frog/pig. My freshman year we were going to dissect a cow's heart. Didn't do that.

If you don't want to dissect, you do not have to, and I'm pretty sure the school can not make you (what if you were 'sick' that day?). PETA has a good bit of information about these kinds of situations that you can use.
Thanks for the information. In middle school, after the frog dissection, they also wanted me to dissect a sheep eyeball and a squid. I did all the paperwork of labeling a picture of the eyeball while my group did the cutting, but no matter how much I asked the teacher to let me not take part in the dissection, she wouldn't let me, and I still had to sit with the eyeball right in front of me (same situation with the frog). By the time we got to the squid dissection, I couldn't take it anymore. I think if it were purely educational, I wouldn't even have minded as much, but the teacher seemed to think of it as entertaining as well. She let students keep "souvenirs" of the frog, and people cut off legs, hands, heads, and even dug out hearts and brains to lay out for a week until they dried up and could be taken home. Luckily, no one in my group participated in this, though. It was extra credit, and I also got a low grade for not cutting or participating in the actual dissection part besides sketching out the anatomy of the frog that I was required to do. So, for the squid dissection, I was 'sick' that day.

I want to help animals and right now my best options for doing so seem to be an animal cop or a veterinarian. I realize being a vet would require this in school to understand the anatomy of animals. I'll just have to really think this over and get more information about the pig dissection before making a decision about trying to get out of it. Hopefully this class is higher level and the dissection will be purely educational.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by disney.jessica View Post

I want to help animals and right now my best options for doing so seem to be an animal cop or a veterinarian. I realize being a vet would require this in school to understand the anatomy of animals. I'll just have to really think this over and get more information about the pig dissection before making a decision about trying to get out of it. Hopefully this class is higher level and the dissection will be purely educational.
You may also consider being a lawyer and practicing animal law
 

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Even if you want to be a vet someday, that doesn't mean that you need to dissect animals now.
And it doesn't mean you need to feel comfortable about dissection.
And it doesn't mean you shouldn't try to find alternatives to dissection.

When I was in high school we had an assignment to dissect a fetal pig and I talked to my teacher, explaining that I had ethical objections to dissection. My teacher had me write a paper instead.

Many states allow students in high school and below to refrain from dissection due to moral reasons. Try talking to your teacher and asking if you can do an alternative assignment.

Resources for you:
http://www.navs.org/site/DocServer/e....pdf?docID=130 (scroll down and read everything)
http://www.avwa.com.au/dissectionkit.pdf
http://www.animalearn.org/img/pdf/dissection.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by sequoia View Post

You may also consider being a lawyer and practicing animal law
That's a good idea! I am interested in a job that would allow me to take part in animal rights, so I'll definitely look into that career option as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

Even if you want to be a vet someday, that doesn't mean that you need to dissect animals now.
And it doesn't mean you need to feel comfortable about dissection.
And it doesn't mean you shouldn't try to find alternatives to dissection.

When I was in high school we had an assignment to dissect a fetal pig and I talked to my teacher, explaining that I had ethical objections to dissection. My teacher had me write a paper instead.

Many states allow students in high school and below to refrain from dissection due to moral reasons. Try talking to your teacher and asking if you can do an alternative assignment.

Resources for you:
http://www.navs.org/site/DocServer/e....pdf?docID=130 (scroll down and read everything)
http://www.avwa.com.au/dissectionkit.pdf
http://www.animalearn.org/img/pdf/dissection.pdf
Thank you for the resources! I'm going to talk to my teacher about not dissecting. I understand to become a vet, dissecting is a part of the education so that vets definitely know how to help animals, but I don't see how much I could learn right now in my Biology class dissecting a pig anyway. It's part of our anatomy section, but we've been building a paper skeleton, assembling all the organs and arteries, labeling, and learning their function, so I don't think doing an actual dissection should be required to pass the course. I believe she's grading the dissection as a test, so maybe I can ask if I can just do a written test or essay instead. I live in CA, so I'm pretty sure I'm not required to dissect, and if I still have problems with my teacher I'll print out this and show it to her:
Quote:
California
Education Code 32255

Pupil with moral obligation to dissection or otherwise harming or destroying animals; notice; alternative education project

(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 32255.6, any pupil with a moral objection to dissecting or otherwise harming or destroying animals, or any parts thereof, shall notify his or her teacher regarding this objection, upon notification by the school of his or her rights pursuant to Section 32255.4.

(b) If the pupil chooses to refrain from participation in an education project involving the harmful or destructive use of animals, and if the teacher believes that an adequate alternative education project is possible, then the teacher may work with the pupil to develop and agree upon an alternate avenue for obtaining the knowledge, information, or experience required by the course of study in question.

(c) The alternative education project shall require a comparable time and effort investment by the pupil. It shall not, as a means of penalizing the pupil be more arduous than the original education project.

(d) The pupil shall not be discriminated against based upon his or her decision to exercise his or her rights pursuant to this chapter.

(e) Pupils choosing an alternative educational project shall pass all examinations for the respective course of study in order to receive credit for that course of study. However, if tests require the harmful or destructive use of animals, a pupil may, similarly, seek alternative tests pursuant to this chapter.

(f) A pupil's objection to participating in an educational project pursuant to this section shall be substantiated by a note from his or her parent or guardian. (Added by Stats.1988, c.65, 2.)

32255.3 Decision of teacher on alternative educational project not arbitrary or capricious

(a) A teacher's decision in determining if a pupil may pursue an alternative educational project or be excused from the project shall not be arbitrary or capricious.

(b) Nothing in this chapter shall prevent any pupil from pursuing the grievance procedures in existing law. (Added by Stats. 1988,c.65, 2)

32255.4 Teacher utilizing live or dead animals or parts in course; duty to inform pupils of rights Each teacher teaching a course that utilizes live or dead animals or animals parts shall also inform the pupils of their rights pursuant to this chapter. (Added by Stats. 1988,c.65, 2)

32255.5 Application of chapter from kindergarten through grades 1 to 12 Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, this chapter applies to all levels of instruction in all public schools operating programs from kindergarten through 1 to 12, inclusive. (Added by Stats. 1988,c.65, 2)

32255.6 Exemption of certain classes and activities from chapter Classes and activities, conducted as part of a program in agricultural education that provide instruction on the care, management, and evaluation of domestic animals are exempt from the provisions of this chapter. (Added by Stats. 1988,c.65, 2)
 

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I had to dissect a fetal pig last year, and I thought it was pretty depressing. I observe at a vet clinic so I've seen surgeries and stuff before (I want to be a vet too!), but the smell of it made me nautious. I participated a little, but the other people in my group did most of it.
Personally I don't have much of a problem dissecting animals that were put to sleep at a shelter, or were in some other situation where they would have died regardless of whether or not they would be used in a dissection. It really bothers me when people made a "game" out of it like your class did though. I mean, can't they at least be respectful of the poor animal?

I'm taking anatomy next year, and we have to dissect cats that were put down (I'm pretty sure that most of them were ferals/strays though).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, that's part of what I was torn about. My teacher explained these pigs were fetal pigs from slaughtered pigs, so if they had been born, they would have been almost certainly raised to be slaughtered, too. At the same time, the fetal pig was still killed when its mother was killed, and I wonder if dissecting the pig that came from a slaughter pig is supporting the murdering of animals for food.
 

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I guess it probably supports the meat industry to some extent (like a byproduct), but from what I understood the fetal pigs weren't produced on purpose... If a female pig who was killed happened to be pregnant, that is what they used the unborn babies for.
 

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We had to dissect fetal pigs too but I just skipped all the dissections. My teachers were very understanding about it, but I understand some are not so.
 

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Yeah, we have some really strange/messed up teachers in our school, and my bio teacher was among the worst so I didn't bother trying to get out of it.
 

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You don't have to dissect anything in school. I think that information that you've found is a good thing and you should print it off and show it to her. In my school, if there was a dissection, we didn't have to watch or take part, there was always other work set done from diagrams for the people who didn't want to take part. Actually, one time the work set was to draw a diagram of a flower... Completely unrelated to the dissection that was going on but the teacher actually told us (us being the 5 of us who didn't want to take part) that the next thing we were going onto was reproduction of flowers and there wasn't going to be any work set on the dissection so he thought he would give us a headstart on the next module. (A week later the class homework was to draw a labelled diagram of a flower... Guess which 5 pupils didn't have any homework that week?
)

About being a vet though, yes you will have to dissect animals then. Also, in the UK (and I'm pretty sure the USA will have the same thing) it's required that you spend at least a week working at an abattoir so you might need to evaluate how you feel about that.
 

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I "went" to highschool online and for us they let us do "virtual dissections" maybe you can ask your teacher if she'd let you do that? (For example, a pig one can be found here (<Warning> Graphic images: http://www.whitman.edu/biology/vpd/main.html - click on the study guides for the pictures) It details and shows anything you would see from actually cutting a pig.. but this way only one fetus has to be used for an entire class.

If you google "Virtual _____ dissection" I'm sure you can find anything else they want you to dissect as well.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by VenomousX View Post

I "went" to highschool online and for us they let us do "virtual dissections" maybe you can ask your teacher if she'd let you do that? (For example, a pig one can be found here (<Warning> Graphic images: http://www.whitman.edu/biology/vpd/main.html - click on the study guides for the pictures) It details and shows anything you would see from actually cutting a pig.. but this way only one fetus has to be used for an entire class.

If you google "Virtual _____ dissection" I'm sure you can find anything else they want you to dissect as well.
I actually MADE a virtual frog dissection in seventh grade for extra credit after I had to skip several dissections.

Of course, I made it with little knowledge of the interior of a frog other than what Wikipedia told me, and it had graphics that were made in a program worse than paint, but it still managed to be cool.

I'm thinking of starting now, with my better knowledge of things, a line of computer-based animal labs so people could use those instead of using real animals and wasting lives. It's VERY easy to simulate a Planarian's brain and I've already got that simulation down.
 

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We were supposed to dissect in biology this year, but i told my teacher well ahead of time that i didn't want to participate. I was surprised when she said that was fine and that our school had a virtual dissection i could do instead on the computer. Just ask, you never know!
 

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It was easy and educational. I would do it again. We also dissected cows eyes, frogs, and cats.
 

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My class did that too. My teacher said that everyone should participate unless you have a serious moral issue with it (like if you're a vegan). He just didn't want people not doing it because they think its gross or something. Luckily for me I am a vegan so I didn't have to do it. My teachers so far have all been very understanding about it but honestly even if they weren't nothing could make me dissect an animal. I would waaayyy rather fail than do something that completely goes against everything I believe. Would your parents be willing to get involved? My mom always offered to write a letter to the teacher explaining why I wasn't doing it but it was never necessary. Maybe your parents could do that for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So the dissections start tomorrow. Today my teacher was doing all the prep with us and she was saying, "it's not a big deal, everyone eats pig so its just a piglet that comes from a pig slaughtered for food". Me saying I'm vegan so of course I don't eat pig didnt help, and she just said its required. Then she went on to say if we don't participate enough, it doesn't matter why, we'll be sent to the at-school suspension room for that period for the 3-4 days of the dissection, get a defiance notation on our record that colleges will see, and get a notation on our report card. During the whole discussion about dissecting the pig, she kept saying terrible things about animals, too.
It started when she explained that in medical school, students start by operating on hogs before humans because it doesn't matter if they kill a pig, but if they kill a human then it's awful and they have that on their conscience. Then someone in my class said, "I saw that on an episode of a tv show and one of the pigs died, but it was really pathetic and they made a big deal out of it for no reason". The teacher said, "yeah it's odd but people are supposed to have an emotional attachment to humans and not care about a pig dying because you don't have an emotional attachment to something that's just supposed to be killed for food anyway". The whole period she kept saying things about humans not supposed to be having emotional attachments to pigs. I live in a rural area with dairy farms and similar places everywhere you go, so people can't believe it when I tell them im vegan because no one else in the area is, and it's a sheltered city, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the way people view veganism and talk about animals.

I think I might do the dissection anyway, only because I really want to become a veterinarian and I feel like I need to get a lot of experience with situations like this and I just need to realize it's meant to be educational in learning anatomy, which I'll definitely need to be educated about to become a vet. No matter what, I still feel bad about the pigs though, but I just have to look at the bigger picture and keep in mind I'm doing this so I can get to my career of helping and saving more animals.
 
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