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The “Blood and Guts” Class

Though I was writing about dissection in primary schools in Be Worried if Your Kid is Psyched for Dissection, K-6 isn’t the only place where there there are issues around dissection.

The Blood and Guts class held each summer at the Governor’s School, which is a school for gifted students at Lynchburg College in Virginia, requires dissection of sharks, pigs, snakes, turtles, frogs, minks, and pidgeons. That, in itself, isn’t really remarkable. I’m hoping the teachers and administration simply aren’t aware of all the alternatives. The remarkable part is that the pages on the school’s website that describe the course included "images of students mugging with animal organs, posing with pig fetuses, and pretending to eat animal intestines," according to Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Bad press ensued, and the website has been taken down.

Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., and ethologist and the author of PLEASURABLE KINGDOM, enlightened the school’s administration, by letter, with the following:

Sociological studies have demonstrated that dissection encourages an attitude of such moral indifference that students commonly carry out vulgar mutilations on the animals by the end of the lesson. This behavior is particularly distressing since these students are among the brightest in their high schools and they intend to pursue medical careers. The barbaric, vile behaviors that "Blood and Guts" incites bears no resemblance to the compassion required to be a doctor.

Go to Dissection Alternatives for loads of info, and even some free samples. And the letter from pathologist Dr. Nancy L. Harrison is particularly informative.

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