Animal Writes
From 22 May 2005 Issue

The Silence of the Dogs
By Greg Lawson - [email protected]

A biology teacher in Utah who led his class in a dissection of a live dog, defended his actions by saying "I thought it would be just a really good experience if they could see the digestive system in a living animal." Doug Bjerregaard, a substitute teacher at Gunnison Valley High School, thought it would be a good idea to take the stomach and intestines out of a live dog to show his class how the digestive process works. Some parents objected when their kids were traumatized. That's why this story made national news, a few upset parents in Utah.

The killing of animals for educational purposes in the classroom, for no rational or reasonable purpose, goes on every day. But the exceptional stupidity and cruelty of this story made all of us who monitor animal news articles say "Huh? What the...?"

What lesson is this teaching the children? That non-human animals are expendable props in the theatre of life? That gutting a fellow being can be a learning experience?

"It just makes me sick and I don't think this should go on anywhere and nobody's learning from it," one student said. The principal of the high school, Kirk Anderson, ([email protected] if you want to drop him a line) said notifications went to parents explaining the dog was going to be euthanized anyway. Principal Anderson said he supports the lesson and it will be allowed to continue because the students are learning. The substitute teacher, Doug Bjerregaard, is standing by his decision and calls it the ultimate educational experience.

No, Doug, you really have no idea about teaching biology. The ultimate educational experience was demonstrated in the movie Hannibal (Silence of the Lambs, part two) when Dr. Hannibal Lecter slowly and systematically cut out portions of Ray Liotta's brain and fed it to him, to find out how much of your own brain you can eat before you start asking for a side of fries. You know, it makes one wonder if Dr. Lecter had a teacher like Doug Bjerregaard.

Remember kids, you have a right not to participate in classroom cruelty. The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights website ( ) includes a good searchable database on alternatives to the use of animals in the classroom and student rights concerning dissection.

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