Cruelty-Free Classrooms

Cruelty-Free Classrooms

"...some of the cats killed there were companion animals that 'escaped' from their homes."

The ongoing debate about whether dissection is both relevant and necessary in the classroom seems to be just that… ongoing. There is this notion that dissection is merely a stepping stone one must encounter in order to properly learn anatomy and physiology, especially if medical school is a possible career choice. However, similar to most significant social change, we often bump into the, “We have always done it this way” argument, in which we know is not valid and ultimately hinders progression.

Classroom dissection desensitizes individuals at a young age to the use of animals for human advancement. Not only does this encourage cruel behavior, but increases the ‘humans vs. other mammal’s’ separation. Worth noting, students may have moral or cultural beliefs, of which conflict with his/her schools dissection policy. Personally, I refused to partake in the dissection portion of a Biology course I had enrolled in. Upon asking for alternatives, I was told there was no other option, and was forced to withdraw.


The most common dissected animals are frogs, cats (Even pregnant mothers), mice, rats, worms, dogs, rabbits, fetal pigs, and fish. There is this myth that animals utilized for classroom dissection have just conveniently passed to natural causes, and are now available for the purpose of education. The majority of animals derive from breeding facilities, pet stores, and slaughterhouses, while others are caught in the wild…"An undercover PETA investigator at one of the nation’s largest suppliers of animals used for dissection was told by his supervisor that some of the cats killed there were companion animals who had “escaped” from their homes.”

Before I became more educated on the issue, I was extremely ignorant in believing these animals were treated humanely both before and after they reached their fate. However, disturbing cases of employees playing drowning games with rabbits and injecting animals with formaldehyde before they have completely passed, are not uncommon, and in fact are reported often. While there may be institutions that adhere to regulations in place, these places are few and far between.

Science Kills

Several college courses have preached about how crucial dissection is to the field. It is no secret that our body maps are extremely similar, if not identical, to animals of the same or evolved species. Therefore, the sciences utilize them to learn more about humans. The idea is that it is considered ethical, if the pros or benefits outweigh the cons or in this case, mortalities. However, the point is, who are we to decide? These animals are not giving consent to being drowned, ripped from their mothers, or gassed for a grade school child to poke at their insides. Who are we to decide the fate of another living being? It is a classic case of hierarchy and power. These animals have a voice; their cries, their screams. Yet they cannot say yes, no, please stop. If we say it is for the purpose of science, for human advancement, that a million deaths are worth one human’s life, what are we saying about the human species as a whole?

It’s 2016

When advocating for change, it is extremely important to provide a solution. In regards to animal dissection, there are hundreds of technological alternatives that prove to be just as good, if not superior to, raw dissection methods. These alternatives come in the form of CD-Roms, simulators, and virtual dissection experiences that allow the student to work at his/her own pace. Additionally, it is cost-effective, inclusive of both cultural and moral beliefs, and provides a more accurate representation of what students will encounter at the PhD. level as more medical schools are opting out of original dissection techniques. PETA has condensed a few of these alternatives, of which are listed here:

  • The Digital Frog is a fully interactive CD-ROM that allows students to explore the frog through three seamlessly linked modules—dissection, anatomy, and ecology.
  • DryLab Suite features detailed, computer-based dissection simulations to study the anatomy of frogs, earthworms, rats, fetal pigs, crayfish, and perch.
  • Anatomy in Clay allows students to build the body systems of humans and animals out of clay on model skeletons.
  • DissectionWorks comprises five interactive, computer-dissection simulations, including those of a frog, crayfish, perch, and fetal pig. A digital cat dissection with detailed graphics and information is also available.
  • Body Works offers a fascinating computer program that explores the body’s systems, structure, and functions.
  • Sniffy the Virtual Rat is a unique computer program that allows students to explore the principles of operant psychology using a “virtual rat.”
  • CatLab is a fully interactive, multimedia dissection of a cat.
  • Great American Bullfrog is a large-scale model with numbered parts and a key card; circulatory, reproductive, and other systems can be separately dissected.
  • Biology Chart Series includes detailed charts of a dissected frog, perch, crayfish, grasshopper, earthworm, etc.

Ultimately, the usage of dissection is cruel, inhumane, and unnecessary. The lives of these animals are of no less significance than those of humans. With the technological advances we have reached, there is no reason for these methods to continue. Decrease ignorance by researching and becoming educated on your rights and your school’s policy. Social change begins with one person, and one idea. Let’s opt for cruelty-free classrooms!

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.


Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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