Classroom dissection

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1998:

New curriculums introduced this academic
year exempted first-year medical students from live
pig dissection at the St. Louis University School of
Medicine and made participation in live dog dissection
optional at the University of Colorado School of
M e d i c i n e. The new St. Louis University curriculum
introduces observations of demonstration surgery on
live pigs at the second-year level, and hands-on work
as an option later. About 35 pigs were spared by the
change, pharmacology and physiology chair Thomas
C. Westfall told James Ritchie of the St. Louis PostDispatch.
The University of Colorado policy amendment
allows medical students to opt out of three 10-
week dog laboratories traditionally held each spring.
An Islamic student, Safia Rubaii, in 1993 challenged
mandatory participation as an alleged violation of her
faith, and sued the university Health Sciences Center
when the administration threatened to flunk her. In
1995, recalled Denver Post medical writer Ann
Schrader, “University officials agreed to pay Rubaii
$95,000, and promised to establish a review process to
accommodate future students whose religious beliefs
don’t allow doing experiments on animals.”

The American Anti-Vivisection Society’s
Animalearn division is sending CatWorks, a CDRom
alternative to cat dissection, to 50 high schools,
one in each state. Get details from AAVS education
director Katherine Lewis, at 215-887-0816.
After dissecting fish in the fifth grade and
cow hearts a few years later, honors student Rachel
White of Newton, New Hampshire, became a vegetarian
at age 15 and developed ethical objections to
dissecting pig fetuses, she testified in January to the
New Hampshire state senate education committee.
White persuaded state senator Beverly Hollingworth
to introduce a bill to allow students to opt out of dissection
for reasons of ethical belief. It and a similar
bill pending in Illinois appear likely to die in committee––but,
missing little if anything by not dissecting,
White and other students following her effort may
have gained priceless knowledge of politics.

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