It is commonly believed that all animals used for disection are raised in captiviy. This is not true. Many animals are taken from the wild, including frogs, sharks, mudpuppies, salamanders, birds, snakes, turtles, fish, and others. And there are, of course, the horror stories of what goes on in biological supply companies.
Pithing is another problem with animal disection, and I think the Humane Society describes it best:
"Pithing is a means of destroying an animal's central nervous system in order to study various physiological processes. Frogs and turtles are two species commonly used in pithing labs, and the procedure is commonly performed in undergraduate-level classes. If conducted properly, pithing severs the spinal cord of the live animal and destroys the brain by inserting a needle into the back of the skull and moving the needle around in order to "scramble" brain tissue; the needle is then inserted into the vertebral canal in order to destroy reflexes. The animal continues to function physiologically for hours following the pithing procedure. The HSUS is opposed to pithing of animals in the classroom and further believes that the overwhelming ethical and animal welfare concerns associated with pithing far outweigh its educational benefit, especially when there are suitable alternatives available to teach the same curriculum."Its my hope that we can end disection in the classroom, at least under the college level. I understand that there could be many good "reasons" for dissecting on animals, and it is always under the name of educational purposes. But how much can an elementary school student learn from dissecting animals?
I remember being in 7th grade, and watching a class dissection of a fish. It was bloody and smelly and hard to see what was going on. I didn't learn anything, all I saw was the sacrificing of a fish to a bunch of kids who didn't want to be there. And I remember 10th grade dissection of cow eyes. It was an extra project added to fill time, and had nothing to do with the curriculum. I learned nothing except for what the inside of a cow eye looked like, and how does that help me? These experiences were small compared to whole animal dissection, but it still seemed pointless and inhumane.
Someday, maybe we'll live in a world where we'll all get along and we'll have respect for other living creatures. Or maybe that's just a dream world. Either way, I'm sure not afraid to dream.