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AHS Supports Legislation Allowing Students to Opt-Out of Dissection

Jeff Meyers

May 25, 2005
CONTACT: Jeff Meyers, MBI Gluck-Shaw
(609) 392-3100
(609) 868-9541

Calls for passage of Caraballo/Turner legislation allowing students to opt-out of animal experiments

(NEWARK) ­The Associated Humane Societies (AHS) today criticized a Utah biology teacher for his heartless and inhumane act of dissecting a sedated, living dog before a classroom of students, calling for the state Legislature to pass legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo and Senator Shirley Turner, providing students with an alternative to participating in classroom experiments.

"When I read in the news what took place in Utah, I just thought to myself who could do such a thing," said Roseann Trezza, Executive Director of AHS. "This is an unconscionable act; we must prevent students from being exposed to this viciousness."

On May 12, 2005, The Associated Press reported that a biology teacher in Gunnison, Utah exposed his class to the dissection of a sedated, live dog, hoping to demonstrate how the digestive system of a living dog functions. As reported, the teacher, Doug Bjerregaard, expressed that he believed this would "be just a really good experience" for the students.

"I would not have expected that answer from a public school teacher," commented Trezza, in response to Mr. Bjerregaard¹s statement. "This is proof positive why we need to have an alternative policy in place for students who don't want to participate in classroom experiments, especially the dissection of living animals. The dissection of animals before college age is useless and traumatic to most children, and does not promote reverence for life," said Trezza.

AHS supports legislation, A-2233/S-1739, sponsored by Assemblyman Wilfred Caraballo and Senator Shirley Turner, which would provide public school students with an opportunity to opt-out of classroom experiments and participate in an alternative education project. A-2233 has passed the Assembly Education Committee and is now pending action before the full Assembly; S-1739 passed the Senate Education Committee on Monday, May 23.

"We can effectively educate students about animals in science and biology classrooms without having to kill or dissect them," said Trezza. "There are plenty of alternatives, which can be utilized as a training model for students, such as computer programs, videos, slides, charts, and books."

The Associated Humane Societies, founded in 1906, is the largest animal sheltering system in New Jersey; we are comprised of four Animal Care Centers located in Newark, Forked River, Tinton Falls and Union. In addition, located at our Forked River facility is Popcorn Park Zoo. Popcorn Park, established in 1977, is a sanctuary for abandoned, injured, ill, exploited, abused or elderly wildlife, exotic and farm animals, and birds. The Society is a not for profit, 501 (c) 3 organization, and Popcorn Park is also a federally licensed zoo. The Society prides itself on our devotion to the thousands of animals that come into our care annually and the life we offer them.


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