Now You Know presents an interview with Dr. Lori Marino, neuroscientist and expert in animal behavior and intelligence, on a subject often overlooked when talking about animal welfare – dissection.
Starting with explanations of what dissection is exactly, Dr. Marino talks about routine dissections as something that is pervasive in our society and widely accepted as an inherent part of science education in most schools. She questions what kind of choices are given to kids, even at an early age; when they feel obliged to participate in the dissection of dead animals in order to succeed in their studies. She discusses what kind of impact this may have on them psychologically as well as on their future relationships with other animals, on top of the immediate negative impact of the dissection process on their education.
Dr. Marino expresses her disappointment in relation to students that, even in graduate school, feel compelled to carry out dissections as part of their science degrees. She goes on to underscore the proved efficacy of animal-friendly alternatives to dissection – such as computer programs and digital simulations – and how research has actually found these alternatives to be superior teaching tools, both for younger high school students or older veterinary school students.
“It hurts students. A lot of students really don’t want to do dissection and vivisection and this kind of thing, and feel so pressured into it that it just makes them very upset, stressed, feeling like they don’t have a choice. And they are told by schools and universities that if you want to be a scientist, you have to do this. And it is just not true. It’s a whole process of desensitization so that by the time they get to college or graduate school, they should question nothing, and that’s very very sad. That’s letting our kids down.” – Dr. Lori Marino.
This interview reveals that many schools will not only provide alternatives to dissection if asked, but in fact in certain U.S. states and countries like Canada, they are required to by law in order to protect students who don’t want to dissect animals.
Now you know!
Be part of the change!
- Ask your school-aged child about dissection, whether they will be doing one in class and what they think about it.
- Contact your child’s school and ask them for an alternative to dissection. In many schools there already is, as well as legal protection for students who don’t want to dissect.
- Inform the teachers you know that there are computer model replacements for schools that are more cost effective, safer, greener, and better learning tools than the use of dead animals. Look to the Animals in Science Policy Institute for easy guidance on how to switch to them.
- Question the status quo as a parent or as a student.
- Learn about the other options available scientifically and educate others.
- Contact your local government officials and ask for more transparency on where the animals used in classrooms are coming from, how they are killed and how they are sourced.
- Help us spread the word by sharing this podcast in your network!
- Listen to Part 2 of our series on dissection with Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy
- Comparative Studies of Animal and Non-Animal Methods in Teaching
- Online searchable database of digital alternatives to dissection that teachers actually do implement in classrooms
- The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine on Animal-Testing Alternatives
- Animalearn and The Science Bank, a leading free lending library of humane science products
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Kathryn, Gen and the Now You Know team.