A California state Assembly bill introduced last week would prohibit animal dissections in public and private school through grade 12.
The proposed amendment to state education code goes further than present language, which states that students "with a moral objection to dissecting or otherwise harming or destroying an animal" can "refrain from participation in an educational project that involves the harmful or destructive use of animals." Alternative instruction "to obtain the knowledge, information, or experience required by the course of study in question" is allowed in its place.
But this bill — called the Replacing Animals in Science Education (RAISE) Act — would specifically outlaw dissection in public and private schools.
"The bill would define dissection as the viewing of the, or act of, dismembering or otherwise destructive use of an invertebrate or vertebrate animal, as specified, in the study of biological sciences, excluding fixed histological samples of any species," the digest of the bill states.
In place of dissection would be contemporary and humane teaching methods in line with industry standards and best practices, a press release about the bill states.
Who introduced the bill?
Democratic Assembly member Ash Kalra of San Jose introduced the bill Friday, and it was cosponsored by a handful of concerned groups, including the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
What else do we know about Kalra?
- Introduced a bill to make California a "leader in protecting tropical rain forests."
- Authored a bill, signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown (D), allowing veterinarians to discuss the use of medicinal cannabis for their animal patients.
- Authored a bill, also signed into law, eliminating exit exams for high schoolers.
- Authored a pro-Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) bill, also signed into law.
This writer's perspective
Here's a telling paragraph from the press release:
The popular understanding of dissection in schools is the dissection of frogs and worms. However, a recent survey of schools that require dissection as a part of their science curricula include fetal pigs, cats, sharks, sheep and other animals. The use of these animals can number in the hundreds per academic school year. When accounted for in totality it provides a clearer picture of both the fiscal impact to schools and the impact that the sourcing of these animals can have on the environment and fragile ecosystems.
There's a concern for fetal pigs?
One wonders what might transpire within Democratic corners of the California State Assembly if a Republican member introduced a bill outlawing the "dismembering or otherwise destructive use of" aborted human fetuses.