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 Post subject: Dissection in college classes?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:23 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy
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I'm currently preparing to go into a dental hygiene degree program. One of the prerequisites is Anatomy and Physiology, which has a dissection component.

I don't start the class until fall, but am thinking of e-mailing the professor in advance to see if it would be possible to do an alternative assignment.

Does anyone here have any experience with this? Or advice? What should I do? What should I say? I can't ethically participate in the dissections, but I need to take the class. I do come from a Buddhist background, so I may be ableto use that to help my case, but I'm still so nervous that the professor will discount my concerns.


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 Post subject: Re: Dissection in college classes?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:28 pm 
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I think you may not be the one to have to dissect but you may still have to deal with dissected animals. I took some classes a couple years ago and our tests included identifying things on dissected animals. Personally, I think you do what you gotta do. More schools seem to be ditching dissection but until then, you will need to work through it.

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 Post subject: Re: Dissection in college classes?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:45 pm 
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Whether or not you can opt out on ethical grounds really varies between state, school, and the individual teacher. In my neuroanatomy class there was a dissection of a sheep brain, and the teacher gave us the option of doing other assignments (virtual dissections/reports/etc) instead. The exam, which involved identification, couldn't be negotiated, though, since we weren't the ones personally dissecting the brain. I say definitely give e-mailing your teacher a shot. Using the religious argument might work best, since schools don't like risking claims of religious discrimination.

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 Post subject: Re: Dissection in college classes?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:51 pm 
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I went through this in school too. Your professor might let you observe the dissections rather than actually participate in them, if you're comfortable with that. When I took anatomy, I didn't think I would be able to handle it, so I just watched the other students at first. But then I got more comfortable with it and did some of the dissections myself. And it was actually a very helpful way of learning the material. But in my class we dissected people who had donated their bodies to science. If we had to dissect animals I don't know if I could have done it. Whatever you do, good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Dissection in college classes?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:30 am 
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Doing neuroanatomy at a graduate level, we only used human brains which had been donated to science, and I was ok with that. My sister, who did human anatomy and physiology at a college level, was only required to observe or dissect a human body which had been donated to science. But when I did anatomy and physiology ages and ages ago, my friend and I were the first students ever to raise ethical concerns and (because we were under 18 and still in high school), they had to provide alternatives for lab components which required students to do actual dissections. The exams went as Happivore said: there were no virtual bits to identify, just something which the teacher or assistant had prepped.

I would mentally prepare yourself to be present in the room while others are dissecting: it's a huge sensory experience (both sight and smell). But maybe google to see what objections others have raised and resolutions they've found.

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 Post subject: Re: Dissection in college classes?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:10 am 
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So Totally Yiffy
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Thanks for the advice! I had tried to google the matter, but most of the advice that came up was either geared towards high school students or gave off too much of a "pushy vegan" vibe (which I'm avoiding, since I'm asking a professor for a favor.)

But that aside, what you guys have said has been helpful. I would have no qualms with dissecting a donated human body, but this is animal dissection...

I'll probably bring up Buddhism when I e-mail the professor, like Happivore suggested, since most professors really don't want to mess with religious issues.


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 Post subject: Re: Dissection in college classes?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:32 pm 
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I had a non-vegan friend that threw up in a Uni anatomy class because of the sights and smells of dissection. So, if it gets bad you may try that...


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 Post subject: Re: Dissection in college classes?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:33 pm 
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My mandatory animal physiology course ~10 years ago didn't force anyone and had people working in groups, but this being a first year undergrad module the lab part of the course was only graded pass/fail to begin with. I would probably ask for clarification on the issue to find out what is actually required before going into detail about specific reasons.


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