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PRO: Dissection prepares students for the field of biology

By By Julianna Music
Mingo Central High School
FlipSide file illustration

It can be easy to become a little woozy when your biology teacher brings out the scalpels and gloves for dissecting animals.

Debate on the topic has been heated for years, with students, parents, teachers and even PETA weighing in. Issues such as ethics, animal cruelty and purpose have been questioned. While some might say that biology classes should not require students to perform dissection in the lab, they most certainly must because, if utilized correctly, dissection teaches students not only the anatomy of animals but also the discipline necessary for scientific professions.

Often, dissection in biology class is labeled as animal cruelty, which is absolutely not the case. Biology is the study of life, and dissection is crucial for the understanding of life; it is a hands-on way to learn and paves a pathway for students with dreams of careers in that field.

Not only that, but it lays the foundation for possible discoveries in animal diseases and prepares young people to become future veterinarians. To strip from curious students the ability to further their knowledge of animal life is fairly absurd.

One could argue that those uninterested in biology or careers in that field have no use dissecting animals in the classroom. While this is a valid and understandable point, it is questionable how students could declare disinterest in biology if they were never exposed to the subject or its vast opportunities.

In my dual credit biology class, one of my classmates decided to pursue an occupation in optometry after dissecting the eye of a sheep and examining it with wonder. Removing dissection from the biology lab hinders what students believe they are capable of doing along with their view on the broad spectrum of occupations possible in that particular field.

The National Science Teacher Association backs the choice of dissection, as long as it fits their suggest guidelines. The guidelines include being ready to present an alternative to students with beliefs against the activity, having a lesson that is appropriate and mature for the age group and conducting the dissection with consideration for and appreciation of the organism being dissected. As long as teachers abide by these reasonable procedures, dissection should never be an issue.

All things considered, the choice is clear: biology classes should not waiver in the practice of dissecting animals. It is not done to satisfy a disturbing desire for animal abuse but rather to ensure the continuation of scientific advances.


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