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News 155, Media Reports

Decline of Animal Dissection Shows
Humanity’s Growing Compassion

By the Los Angeles News Group
(Originally in English)

A recent article on the CNN website ( reports that the State of Virginia in the U. S. has enacted a new law requiring its schools to offer students alternatives to animal dissection in science and biology classes. Virginia thus joins a growing number of American states with laws that allow students to opt out of dissecting cats, earthworms, fetal pigs and other creatures, reflecting a global trend toward more compassionate treatment of animals as humanity enters the Golden Age.

Young people are often especially sensitive to the plight of our fellow beings, as shown by the case of Virginia high school student Grace Kendall, who knew back in the seventh grade that she did not want to cut open a preserved frog in her science class. Her teacher allowed her to use a computer alternative, and she has refused to dissect animals ever since. As Grace puts it, “I thought there was something really wrong with dissecting a dead animal when I knew there were other options. Dissecting something that was killed so we could learn about it was unsettling.” These highly mature and compassionate sentiments from a pure-hearted girl reveal the growing enlightenment that many youngsters around the world are experiencing with respect to the loving treatment of all beings. This trend can also be seen in the recent rise of vegetarianism and animal rights activism in high schools, colleges and universities around the globe.

Grace also said she is glad that Virginia has joined the other states in the U. S. that have enacted laws allowing students to avoid dissecting animals. Beginning this academic year, all Virginia students must be told that they can choose not to dissect animals without being penalized, and instructors must provide them with alternative learning tools such as computer programs, Internet tutorials and plastic models.

The law is also being supported by many teachers, such as Rebecca Ross, a senior anatomy, physiology and biology instructor at Cave Spring High School in Roanoke County, Virginia, who is also president-elect of the National Association of Biology Teachers. Ms. Ross agrees that students with “moral, philosophical, religious or ethical” objections to dissection should be able to use alternative learning methods in the classroom. Virginia is among nine U. S. states that require school districts to provide options to dissection. In 1985, Florida was the first to pass such a law, followed by California in 1988. New Jersey is also considering similar legislation. On the international level, Argentina, India and Israel are among the nations that have completely banned animal dissection in schools.

This trend away from dissection is largely driven by groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Humane Society of the United States, which encourage students to oppose the practice, arguing that animals used for dissection suffer during their capture, handling and killing, and that the practice thus devalues animal life. “We believe that dissection in the classroom is an antiquated [teaching] method and promotes the widespread abuse of animals,” says Jacqueline Domac of PETA. The Humane Society estimates that currently six million animals — mostly frogs, fetal pigs and cats — are dissected each year in American high schools. The Society distributes anti-dissection videos and loans alternative instructional software to schools to help in eliminating the practice from the U. S. educational system.

The movement away from dissection in education is a needed step in enhancing humanity’s compassion and awareness of the oneness of all life on the planet. For, as Supreme Master Ching Hai says, we have been blind to our fellow creatures’ welfare and right to co-exist with us for far too long: “For thousands of years we have been unkind to each other, including our younger brothers and sisters, like the animals. In the Bible it is said, ‘As you sow, so shall you reap.’ And if we believe in the Bible we have sowed too many things that will yield undesirable fruit for us. So the only [way] to avoid the fruit is to avoid the sowing of the seed. We have to start to be more God-worshipping, God loving, God-fearing. We have to love in action; love Hirm and love Hiers children. God doesn’t permit us to kill even to make offerings to Hirm, much less to satisfy our very temporary physical [existence]. So this is the cause of most of our disasters and sickness in this world. We just have to be loving and that’s the only religion there is” (Excerpt from videotape #395 Love is the Only Religion).


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