About one week ago, I wrote a blog post about an interview I read with PETA's leader, and I wrote about how absolutely ridiculous I find her and the organization itself. It's difficult to take PETA seriously with some of the tactics they use and considering some of the things they ask people to do (like how we should all become vegetarians).
However, I think PETA's work is good in some aspects. For one, I think their use of different Web sites to reach different target audiences is a great public relations move (much better than their failure to account for exchange relationships or the boomerang effect). They have PETA2 for college students, PETA Kids and PETA Prime for seniors, all of which can be accessed from the main PETA.org site.
Recently, a Virginia resident, Jennifer Thornburg, a recent high-school graduate, changed her name to Cutout Dissection.com. First name, Cutout, last name, dissection.com. Now while I find this extremely ridiculous, I was intrigued enough to visit the Web site that is the girl's name. It wasn't long before I figured out that the site is actually part of PETA2, and I began exploring a bit.
Now, I don't agree with every argument PETA makes, and I still think using some animal corpses for scientific purposes is necessary to advance science. However, I do not think that as an amateur dissector in middle school and high school that I got anything out of dissecting a piglet or cat that I couldn't have learned from a 3D computer model. And, let's face it, public relations practitioner don't do dissections, so if one of those animals had to die just so I could dissect it — now I feel kinda bad for wasting that animal.
So, I can see PETA's argument (and Cutout Dissection.com's) that we should at the very least minimize the number of animals used for dissections. I should emphasize that I had no problem with frogs being used — until I heard PETA's argument about the destabilization of ecosystems and the sheer number of frogs used for these purposes. If they aren't blowing things out of proportion (which I have to imagine they are just a bit), then I really agree with them here.
What really converted me on this topic was the following video because they use so many domesticated animals that we have come to love. I must warn you the stories and images used in this video will make you cringe, and perhaps even tear up. While there are not really scenes of blood and gore, there are scenes of dead animals being tossed around like garbage and live animals being beaten into their gas chambers. This is one of the most horrendous things I have ever seen, but that's why I'm reposting it here.
I do realize the need for scientific use of cadavers of various types, but let's all spread the word to adopt animals so they don't have to be put down and to call for our schools and universities to cut out dissection unless absolutely necessary. We could definitely limit the number of animals that have to be treated like garbage if high school biology/anatomy student and college non-majors in science classes used 3D models. The students would probably also learn more. Unless someone is actually going to need to know how to go inside of the specific animal being used to save future lives of animals, then dissections should absolutely be cut out.