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Wednesday letters: Animal dissections in school unnecessary

In this photo provided by Digital Frog International, a screen shot is shown of a frog dissection image from a virtual dissection program that includes the frog and instructions to the student. (AP photo/Digital Frog International)

With school starting up again soon, it’s important for students (and their parents) to know that they have a right to learn humanely in the classroom. Illinois is one of many states that has a Student Choice Law. This law protects students who don’t want to dissect animals.

When a student objects to animal dissection, it’s important to remember that they are not trying to opt out of learning. They simply want to learn without harming animals and that should be taken seriously. If students are forced to take part in a process that requires the killing of animals, they’re going to be upset and aren’t going to learn anything. The fact that animal dissection has dissolved the hopes and goals of many empathetic students from going into the medical or veterinary field is a familiar, yet sad, story I’ve heard from many people over the years.

If every medical school student in the United States and Canada will get their degrees without ever being allowed to harm animals, then there’s absolutely no reason to be teaching this inhumane and environmentally damaging method.

The technologically advanced learning tools available today by far exceed the outdated practice of cutting open purposely bred animals preserved with carcinogenic chemicals to teach human anatomy and will save schools much needed funds. There are numerous state-of-the-art, sophisticated computer models and virtual reality systems to learn the life sciences and many of these programs are free. There are lending libraries in Chicago and around the country that loan out models, software, manikins, videos, etc. When you take this into consideration, along with the constant financial constraints most schools face, buying twenty plus dead animal specimens, along with all the laboratory supplies each semester, it really adds up.

It doesn’t matter if your state doesn’t foster compassion in the classroom. Your moral beliefs constitute your religious beliefs, and you have the right to learn humanely.

Jodie Wiederkehr

Center For Ethical Science

Chicago

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Just say no to Divvy

Kudos to Skokie! Unlike their neighbor Evanston that recently drank the Divvy Lemonade, Skokie officials reported they will not be participating in the Divvy debacle. Supporting Divvy participation should be a source of shame and embarrassment for any bureaucrat whose town or city faces financial issues. Chicago spent $36 million of taxpayer funds to establish 4,000 Divvy bikes. That’s $9,000 per bike — taxpayer money that benefits few, to the detriment of all.

Earl Weiss, Skokie