PETA Calls On School to Do Away With Cruel Classroom Dissection
For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2015
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Oklahoma City – Following a video that was posted to Facebook showing students at Oklahoma City’s top-ranked Harding Charter Preparatory High School playing the jingle from “Meow Mix” cat food commercials and dancing with dead cats slated to be dissected in their anatomy class, PETA is calling on the school to end classroom dissection.
In the video—which was filmed during the last school year—eight students in white lab coats stand in a row, each holding a dead cat, while one student kneels and directs the routine with another dead cat. As the well-known “Meow Mix” song starts to play, the students make the corpses “dance” in what appears to be a choreographed routine. The students smile as they make the dead cats touch each other and bounce in synchronized movements. At the end of the video, the student director holds up a sign that reads, “Piccolo and the Pussycats.” Piccolo is the last name of a science teacher at the school, and although she was tagged in the Facebook post, it’s unclear whether she was present at the time the video was recorded.
In numerous letters to the school reporting this incident—which have gone unanswered—PETA has pointed out that studies show that classroom animal dissection can cause lifelong psychological distress and foster callousness toward animals and that this situation is a case in point. The behavior exhibited in the video also violates leading science education organizations’ guidelines, which state that classrooms must treat animals respectfully and ethically.
“Cats used for dissection are often lost or stolen animal companions—but in classrooms like this one, students are taught that they’re props and inanimate laboratory tools to be mocked, used, and discarded,” says PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman. “PETA is calling on Harding Charter Preparatory High School to teach its students to respect both life and science—and it can start by replacing cruel and archaic animal dissection with humane and more effective non-animal teaching methods.”
Every year in the U.S., an estimated 10 million animals are killed for dissection. Many come from biological supply houses, which breed animals or obtain them from animal shelters or the wild. Non-animal methods, such as interactive computer programs, have been shown to teach biology as well as—and in many cases, better than—dissection. They also save teachers time and money and increase students’ confidence and satisfaction. The National Science Teachers Association endorses the use of modern non-animal methods as replacements for dissection.
PETA’s correspondence with Harding Charter Preparatory High School and a broadcast-quality copy of the video are available upon request.
For more information, please visit PETA.org/Dissection.