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Better Living - Education

Why Are Education Curriculums an Important Ecology Issue?
School studies have a profound influence on young minds and should instill in students compassion and respect for people, animals and the environment. Courses should not promote exploitive practices such as hunting, trapping, vivisection and dissection, all of which desensitize students by teaching that animal life and the environment are cheap, expendable resources existing solely for the benefit of the human species. Education curriculums should promote the development of symbiotic relations between people, animals the environment.

Millions of Students are Affected
Students are psychologically harmed when they are forced to dissect animals.

One of the ideals of the academic community is that a student should be allowed to make intellectual and moral decisions. This should include the right to follow his or her conscience. Courses that compel students to accept callous attitudes towards animals and the environment harm the studentís ability to make moral judgments. Students who are forced to condone the killing of animals in biology classes or other courses, may suffer emotional and psychological distress. This distress can lead in turn to a progressive crippling of the capacity for compassion.

Why is Dissection an Issue?
Dissection was introduced into the school curriculum in the 1800s. At that time, it was considered a valid method of teaching anatomy, physiology and fundamental scientific principles. In recent times, some high school and university have objected to the requirement that they dissect animals in their classes. Some of these students have been told that they cannot pass the course unless they comply with the cruel requirement. This opposition to the studentsí moral decision is incomprehensible. Today there are non-animal teaching methods that are not harmful to students, animals or the environment.

How Does the Practice of Dissection Harm Our Ecosystem?
Dissection today is big business. Each year, millions of animals are killed for dissection in biology laboratories. Countless amphibians, reptiles, rodents and mammals are killed for senseless and repetitive dissections. In the process, natural habitats are destroyed and ecological systems are threatened. Frogs, for example, are not commercially raised and collection of frogs for dissection decimates total populations from an area, producing an ecological imbalance.

What are the Alternatives to Animal Dissection?
There is no justification for killing animals when perfectly valid alternatives exist. When the purpose of dissection is to teach comparative physiology, not veterinary surgical techniques, the knowledge gained could as easily be learned by studying plastic models, anatomy colouring books, transparent overlays, and video and computer programs.

Only a very small percentage of students actually pursue careers for which they need surgical skills. These skills can be learned without the deliberate killing of animals. Students can gain their surgical dexterity through practice on human placenta, umbilical cords, cadavers and training simulators or by apprenticeship to surgeons performing necessary operations on patients.

What are the Risks for Students Who Object to Dissection?
Students who refuse to perform dissections may face ridicule and intimidation from fellow students, teachers and school administrators. Often their grades are lowered or they may be threatened with failing. In 1989, the California legislature passed a bill that ensures the rights of students from kindergarten through Grade 12, to choose an alternative to dissection in biology classes. Every student should have the right to refuse to participate in dissection and should be offered a non-violent options to meet the requirements of the course.

What Other Courses Cause Harm?
Organizations and businesses that rely on animal products have created school programs to help protect their vested interests. The dairy and meat industries supply their propaganda to all schools in order to brainwash everyone into believing that their products are essential to maintain good health. A curriculum guide that was integrated into elementary and high school courses throughout North America was Project Wild. Project Wild was created by the US Western Association of Game Agencies to promote hunting and trapping and to counter the misguided anti-hunting sentiment. In Canada, those who support vivisection created a Science and Technology courses that perpetuated the myth that vivisection is necessary.

Are Zoos, Aquariums, Circuses and Rodeos Educational?
Zoos, aquariums, circuses and rodeos misinform us as to the social and behavioural needs of animals. Sentient beings are regarded as exhibits or displays - as mere commodities. This callous attitude contributes to societyís failure to protect natural environments because of a false sense of security -- if itís in captivity, then it wonít become extinct; it doesnít need help. Students do not learn about the natural habitats and the history of the species.

What You Can Do
  • Say No! to dissection. Lifeforce offers information, moral support and suggestions to help students discuss their concerns with school officials and, if need be, legal support to defend their right to refuse to participate in dissection of animals
  • Write to those in government responsible for implementing education programs. Write to your local politician and tell him or her to stop biased courses which promote the killing of animals
  • Contact parent/teacher associations to alert them to curriculum studies that brainwash, desensitize and psychologically harm students. Inform these associations that you oppose programs of this kind
  • Do not condone exploitive forms of entertainment; oppose field trips to zoos, aquariums, rodeos, circuses and the like, especially for preschool and elementary school children who are easily influenced by propaganda
  • Find out what is being taught in schools and support ecologically friendly courses