Piglet Dissection

Piglet Dissection: One of our Human Biology Teachers have requested a piglet dissection prac.

Are we able to perform piglet dissections in Secondary Schools ?

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Publication Date: 20 June 2016
Asked By: Anonymous
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Piglet Dissection

In brief:

Jurisdictional legislation and policies: It is essential to consult your school or school sector to determine the policies and procedures they require you to follow regarding dissections. When considering dissections in schools, there are two main areas for consideration: the ethical and safety concerns.

Ethical Considerations:

There are different ethical viewpoints concerning the use of animals for dissections in schools. In Australia, THE NHMRC have published an Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th edition (2013) see https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-code-care-and-use-animals-scientific-purposes/australian-code-care-and-use-animals-scientific-purposes-code . Each state and territory has its own additional legislative requirements as well. It is a decision for either the school or school sector to make the ethical decision regarding whether they will permit the dissection of animals. In most jurisdictions there are requirements for reporting to an animal ethics committee and sometimes permission is required before arranging to conduct a dissection.

Safety Considerations:

For the safety of staff and students, it is essential that all materials used for dissections are free from disease. Therefore dissection materials should either be sourced from suppliers that supply for human consumption, such as from a butcher, supermarket or abattoir or from prepared specimens from biological suppliers. See our list of School science suppliers for companies that supply biological specimens for dissection.

Additional information:

Science ASSIST has prepared a number of SOPs regarding dissections. I draw your attention to the SOP - Performing a rat dissection, where in the introduction we address both these aspects:

“Prior to conducting a rat dissection, teachers should ensure that they are able to meet the requirements of the Schools Animal Ethics Committee (SAEC) in their jurisdiction. It is recommended that they consider the educational objectives for this activity, explore the ethical considerations with students and aim to reduce the total number of rats required for this activity. Students should not be forced to participate in a dissection and alternative activities such as videos and virtual dissections can be used for these students instead, as well as to supplement the actual activity.

Rats that have been humanely euthanised and are disease (or infection) free should be sourced from ethical and licenced suppliers. They can be supplied as freshly euthanised, frozen or preserved specimens.”

With above considerations in mind, we provide the following links for some further reading:

Australian references with state/territory based links:

Additional references (USA, Canada)

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