October is not just for haunted hayrides, jack-o’-lanterns, and all-night horror movie marathons. It’s also the month set aside to highlight an issue even more gruesome and frightening than a Friday the 13th film fest—the murder of millions of cats, pigs, frogs, and other animals every year for classroom dissection.
October is “Cut Out Dissection” Month, and PETA‘s youth division, peta2, is asking students to observe a day of silence to mourn animals who are killed for classrooms when humane virtual-dissection software and models exist—and cost less and actually offer students a better look at animal anatomy than animal dissection does.
Sixteen-year-old Betsy Orozco is one of the brave students who risked incurring the wrath of her teachers and parents by “not” speaking up for animals killed for classrooms. “To be 100 percent honest, I was kind of scared that I was not going to attract enough people because at my school, not a lot of kids are aware of the cruel things that happen to animals,” she says of her day of silence. When teachers and students asked her why she wasn’t speaking, Betsy handed them leaflets that explained that the animals used for dissection don’t die from natural causes as many people believe but are bought from animal shelters or ripped out of their mothers’ wombs in slaughterhouses specifically for biological supply companies.
Betsy’s gutsy act convinced other students to “go silent” as well to help spread the message that killing animals for dissection is cruel and has no place in our modern, technology-filled classrooms. “It was so cool to see other kids care about something that is not really talked about or that is not seen like a big issue,” Betsy says.
Betsy—and many compassionate students like her—are convincing educators to forgo murdered animals in favor of virtual-dissection software, including the following:
- · Digital Frog’s Digital Frog 2.5 provides an interactive virtual frog dissection and links seamlessly to an anatomy and physiology section as well as modules on frogs’ behavior and natural habitats.
- · Froguts‘ Web-based software includes interactive, narrated virtual dissection for some of the most common animal dissection conducted, including frogs, fetal pigs, squid, cow eyes, and starfish.
- · Punflay’s Virtual Rat Dissection software is available as an iPad app, desktop program, and whiteboard software, providing 3-D organ views and information.
- · Cyber Science 3D’s virtual-dissection software provides virtual, dissectible specimens in three dimensions. Human and various animal species’ anatomy are available.
- · Pearson’s Practice Anatomy Lab 3.0 is free software that provides virtual access and hundreds of photos of the most widely killed animals for classrooms, including fetal pigs and cats.
And this is just the tip of the virtual iceberg! With humane, user-friendly, cost-saving, reusable choices like these—and students like Betsy to champion them and groups such as PETA to donate them—more and more school districts are sure to “cut out” dissection in no time.