When my daughter Brynnan transferred to Culpeper High School in Virginia this year, she was excited that they offered an anatomy class. She wanted to learn more about the human body and how it worked, but her excitement quickly turned to shock and distress.
“Mom, they want me to skin and dissect a CAT,” she told me. “The teacher told us if we have a black cat at home, pick a white cat and vice versa. Like the color of their fur changes how I feel about ripping the fur from a cat who—no matter what—will remind me of my baby Sparta!”
I was horrified. We discussed how to handle it, and she begged me to let her homeschool instead. As a new student, she already felt ostracized and alone, and the thought of taking a stand in a class full of strangers was something that caused her more trauma.
Whether she silently took part in skinning and dissecting a companion animal—something that would cause her immense psychological pain—or stood against the practice and further alienated herself from the other students, she was facing trauma either way.
As her parent, it was my duty to protect her first and foremost. In protest of the barbaric practice going on at Culpeper High School (and, I’ve learned, high schools all across the country) I pulled her from the school curriculum and began to homeschool her.
But two people standing in protest isn’t enough. Will you stand with us in demanding that not only Culpeper High School but schools nationwide end this heinous abuse of students and companion animals?
If so, sign our petition here:
Virginia is one of 11 states in the U.S. with informed student consent laws, but the laws are not being followed and still allow dissection in the classroom and ostracism of those students who object.
Cats are the most popular companion animal in the United States, outnumbering dogs by some 15 million. To expect students to skin and cut up the very same animal that they may sleep with at night is cruel and inhumane, both to the cats and to the students forced to maim them.
There are many alternatives to dissection, including online or computer simulations and 3-D models. It’s time for schools like Culpeper County High School in Virginia to put into practice the humane message they should be sending to all students.
Our companion animals are beloved family pets, to be valued and treasured. Please stand with Brynnan and myself to demand an end to cat dissection in the classroom.