As the California State Board of Education prepares to decide which new educational materials will be incorporated into state schools, PETA supporter Kim Basinger sent the board’s president a letter urging him to leave live-animal experiments and animal dissection out of the curriculum.

“I wanted to contact you about an issue near and dear to my heart, because it acutely affects both students and animals,” Kim wrote in the letter to Dr Michael W. Kirst. "While many educational materials are up for review, please consider declining to adopt any science materials that involve live-animal experiments or animal dissection. Some concerning examples include an activity kit involving the dissection of squids, sheep brains, and cow eyes and another aimed at middle schoolers that would encourage them to build an ecosystem with live animals. Wonder and responsibility can be taught in so many better ways, without putting any animals in harm’s way. Would you please consider a kinder and more effective approach to science education?

“Animals are not ours to use — and they deserve better than to be used as classroom tools to be discarded. There are obvious ethical benefits to replacing dissection, as doing so reduces animal suffering — and this concern is at the root of most students’ objections to the use of animals in science classes. Dissection is a nightmare for animals, many of whom are killed specifically to be cut apart — which many people don’t realize. The millions of animals used for this purpose include frogs, who are caught in the wild; pigeons, who were seen drowned to death in a PETA exposé of a leading dissection-supply company; and fetal pigs, who are removed from the wombs of their pregnant mothers at slaughterhouses.

“Even with the two California education laws that specifically require educators to teach kindness to animals and allow students to opt out of animal dissection activities, my friends at PETA hear from many students who want to say no to dissection but are intimidated or pressured not to speak up, and that’s not OK. Endorsing science materials that include animals would be a step backward for the board. School should be a safe place of learning and personal growth, especially at a time of so much violence and unrest. We need to instill compassion in children — and dissection teaches a flagrant disregard for life.”

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