A company that supplies animals for classroom dissection is under investigation for potentially illegal practices involving animal cruelty.
Some sources estimate that as many as 10-12 million animals are used in dissection exercises every year in the United States alone. Many of these animals come from animal shelters or are byproducts of the meat industry. Others are caught from the wild and are killed specifically for biological study. Biological supply companies, which typically buy already-dead animals, profit by selling the animals as dissection specimens to science educators.
If these “pre-dissection” facilities kill animals themselves, they are mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to do so painlessly via euthanasia. A recent article in Newsweek, however, reports that one such company, Bio Corporation in Minnesota, is under investigation by local police following the release of undercover footage taken by PETA showing that many animals were caused unnecessary pain and suffering and were subjected to horrific deaths before they were prepared for preservation.
Pigeons were drowned while alive, living crayfish were injected with latex, and workers discussed freezing turtles to death.
Bio Corporation’s owner, Bill Wadd, insisted that the company is “fully within the USDA jurisdiction on the Animal Welfare Act” and said employees at Bio Corporation “generally don’t euthanize animals.” Yet undercover videos and a signed witness affidavit describe his company’s employees killing animals in very inhumane ways.
This is not the first time that biological supply companies have been under fire for animal cruelty. Carolina Biological Supply, one of the largest vendors of animal dissection specimens, had been accused in the 1990s of filling live cats with chemical preservatives prior to killing them at their facility.
Allegations of egregious cruelty aside, considering the fact that dozens of studies have shown animal dissection alternatives educate students as well or better than animal specimens in science, there is no compelling reason why the practice of dissection should continue at all. Many countries have already discontinued animal dissection exercises in science education and it is rare or being phased out in others. It is time for the U.S. to follow suit.
Source: Hugo, K. “Exclusive: Horrific Animal Deaths at Minnesota’s Bio Corporation Exposed in Undercover video.” Newsweek. November 21, 2017.