What do you dissect in A&P Lab? - page 4

I have to take it this fall and I'm curious. :)... Read More

  1. by   Mahema
    I did not realise how rare it is for a nursing program to have human cadavers. We had 5 or 6 of them for nursing and some for the other fields of study. The lab instuctor did all the disections. It seemed hard at first to be in the lab but I would not have traded that experience for the world. Can not imagine having to learn human A&P with animals or computer simulation.
  2. by   salgal
    rats, cow eyeballs, sheep brains
  3. by   sandylpn03
    For my A&P 2 class we disected a mink and a sheep heart. I felt so sorry for the little minks, the were furless and ugly and they stunk really bad too. I smelled mink the whole semester. UGH.
  4. by   B.T.H
    A big Tomcat, sheeps brain, eyes, kidney and heart. The worst part about it wasn't the dissecting or smell though, but looking for the cat again at the beginning of every lab. All the different A&P classes stored the cats together and people were mixing everything up in that cooler. I had to sort through the whole mess at the beginning of every class to find our group cat(I was volunteered the job by the girls in my group ,including my wife, since I was the lone guy in the group, LoL.) I miss that group now that my A&P pre-reqs are over with. B.T.H
  5. by   AmyLiz
    I'm just starting my A&P classes this summer & from what I can gather we will dissect a sheep heart (and brain, I think) and a fetal pig. The pig should be no problem, I dissected one of those when I was in high school. And the heart should be no problem either, since I had to mess around with a cow heart in college bio about 14 years ago.
  6. by   NurseDixie
    Cats , fetal pigs, lamb brains, deer hearts. It was all gross, couldn't stand the smell. We used to rub Vick's vapor rub up our noses before we started. It sure helped.:roll
  7. by   kaitlynsmomma
    I am taking my A&P1 class this summer starting July 9! And I am soooooooooooooooooooooo excited! I hope we all have an awesome experience!! Good luck!!
  8. by   rnnurse2be
    OK, at our CC we had 2 cadavers. Rosie was the oldest, we lovingly refered to her as "Jerky", and Betty was brand new, so she was "Juicy".

    We also had sheep and cow (brains and hearts).

    Each group was responsible for disecting a cat. Amazing how similar they are to a human.

    Anyways, I was lucky to have been able to touch, grab and feel the muscles, ect... as we were learning them. I am very hands on and it helped a ton!
  9. by   geekgolightly
    My $0.02.

    I refused to dissect. (and the crowd gasps in horror)

    It goes against my nature to dissect an animal. Humans give their body to science, so I have no ethical problems with this. I also know that there are times in research when animals are needed for testing of new drugs or research in fields such as AIDS and cancer. As long as the animal are treated humanely during this process, I am comfortable with it. But I am not comfortable with animals being killed inhumaely by the hundreds of thousands each year for purposes which can easily be avoided.

    So I refused. I was definitely the freak of the course, but i raised a stink and talked with the dean, and was able to learn thru slides and videos. I did have to do the practicums looking at dissected animal, but at least I took a stand for my personal beliefs.

    Here are some interesting links:

    http://www2.uiuc.edu/ro/sila/dissection.faq.html

    http://www.peta.org/kids/lanimaldisindust.pdf

    http://www.lcanimal.org/cmpgn/cmpgn_020.htm

    http://www.hsus.org/ace/13059
  10. by   maeyken
    We dissected sheep brains, pig heart and lungs, and got to look at the cadavers that the med students dissected. I wish we would have had more hands-on stuff, but can't really do too much about that now! There were also preserved-in-plastic specimens that we looked at a lot too. Those were pretty interesting, after we figured out where abouts in the body they came from!

    ~ mae
  11. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Dissection is a valuble exercise. It's a contrast with a textbook, which is simply a color coded schematic in 2 dimensions and no alternative to identifying structures as they truly appear in an organism.

    There is a reason that those cats and rats die. These specially selected animals give their lives to further my education. A course in anatomy is hardly complete without sensing the scapel's pressure while separating the fascia from the muscle and hunting down the kidneys from where youthought they would be.

    In my opinion it's an important experience for developing skill at palpation. Medical skills are not as important for a nurse as they are for other allied health unless you make them important. The educational experience for a nurse must retain as much of the medical curicculum as it can. The psychology far outweighs the medicine already. If nursing is to continue to strive to serve both the psychosocial and medical models, then this part of anatomy must remain intact.

    I followed the link to the Peta website. It's clear the author has no knowledge, or chose to disregard, that an organism can be expected to be moving long after clinical death. The paws "clinching" is simply a chemical reaction between the formaldehyde and the anesthetic along the nerve pathway. It was written with such embellishment that I found myself not caring whether any of it was true or not.

    I refuse the guilt. I'm a realist.

    I am fed, clothed, and medicated as well as educated in conjunction with the death of many, many animals. No amount of pity on my part for a few animals, that will die anyway, will change how the real world operates.
  12. by   geekgolightly
    Originally posted by Peeps Mcarthur
    Dissection is a valuble exercise. It's a contrast with a textbook, which is simply a color coded schematic in 2 dimensions and no alternative to identifying structures as they truly appear in an organism.

    There is a reason that those cats and rats die. These specially selected animals give their lives to further my education. A course in anatomy is hardly complete without sensing the scapel's pressure while separating the fascia from the muscle and hunting down the kidneys from where youthought they would be.

    In my opinion it's an important experience for developing skill at palpation. Medical skills are not as important for a nurse as they are for other allied health unless you make them important. The educational experience for a nurse must retain as much of the medical curicculum as it can. The psychology far outweighs the medicine already. If nursing is to continue to strive to serve both the psychosocial and medical models, then this part of anatomy must remain intact.

    I followed the link to the Peta website. It's clear the author has no knowledge, or chose to disregard, that an organism can be expected to be moving long after clinical death. The paws "clinching" is simply a chemical reaction between the formaldehyde and the anesthetic along the nerve pathway. It was written with such embellishment that I found myself not caring whether any of it was true or not.

    I refuse the guilt. I'm a realist.

    I am fed, clothed, and medicated as well as educated in conjunction with the death of many, many animals. No amount of pity on my part for a few animals, that will die anyway, will change how the real world operates.
    I think your opinion is valuable, but I don't understand why you would feel (or not feel) guilty and why that might be a motivating factor for anything in ones life. Your statement "I refuse the guilt. I'm a realist," is very confusing.

    I think that being realistic is part of my motivation for stnding up and saying no to aspects of education and research that I feel are irrelevant. If you feel that they are necessary, then I am happy that you do what you know in your heart/mind to be right. I do not feel that dissections of cats etc., are necessary to my education as a nurse. I will never be asked to operate on a cat. I will never have to know the exact position of a cat's kidney, therefore I do feel that dissection of said animal is irrelelvant. I also, as stated above, know when the use of animals in medicine is relevant and I have no qualms about the use of animals in those situations.

    I am sorry you found the author's choice of words over at the PETA site to your distaste. PETA is known for scare tactics and the need for visceral reactions. I disagree with many things they have done and continue to do. I of course, would never let that weigh in on my rational and empathic and very well educated decision to say no to the dissection of animals in my basic A&P course at university.

    I was able to use video, and CD for enhanced learning and I feel that not only did I complete the task of learning A&P well, (I made an A) but I also felt that my ethical boundaries were not infringed in completing my task. I'm fortunate that this was able to be done.

    I don't know if you followed any of the other links, but I think this link answers questions that anyone might have in a very frank and helpful manner. I would never want to dissuade you from doing anything against your conscience, but I would hope that you would be able to see that education in simple A&P (as opposed to Gross Anatomy courses where use of a corpse, preferably a human corpse is necessary ) does not need to involve dissection of an animal. Especially for those who have an ethical position against it.


    ********************
    Frequently Asked Questions About Dissection and Student Choice

    How can students learn without using real animals?

    Non-animal equivalents to dissection are readily available (some suggested alternatives are listed at our Alternatives page). Studies indicate that students who use computer programs learn equally well or better than students performing dissections.

    These students are willing to be tested on their knowledge acquired by means other than dissection. They are willing to do as much work as any other student- by studying books, computer programs, videos or models- to meet the standards of the course. Gaining knowledge is the basis for the course assignment, not performing the dissection itself. (from National Anti-Vivisection Society)

    But don't students need hands-on experience?

    Not when it violates a student's sincerely held ethical beliefs. Besides, non-animal equivalents are readily available. On a practical level, animal use in introductory courses is clearly not necessary. If hands-on experience is truly necessary, the student will get it eventually (e.g., examining human cadavers in medical school or performing surgery on animals in vet school). Long-dead animals injected with latex dyes are not particularly useful for gaining practical experience about what the insides of live humans and animals look like. To read some experiences students at U of I have had with dissection and alternatives, please see our Experience Notebook.

    Won't you just have to use animals in medical or veterinary school anyway?

    Needless to say, not everyone who is forced to dissect is going on to a career where harming animals is necessary. Furthermore, two-thirds of all medical schools--including the University of Pittsburgh, Harvard and Yale--no longer have live animal labs. Of the remaining third, only one has a compulsory animal lab.

    Some of the very first successful lawsuits against universities over a student's right not to harm animals were brought against veterinary schools (e.g., the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University). Veterinary schools are increasingly moving away from killing animals simply to practice surgery on them; schools now provide spay and neuter services for local shelters. Veterinary schools can also use ethically obtained animals (the owner giver consent) for their anatomy courses.

    Aren't you infringing on professors' academic freedom?

    We are not trying to ban the use of animals; professors are still allowed to have dissection as part of their curriculum. However, academic freedom is not absolute freedom. No professor has the right to force a student to do something that interferes with the free exercise of sincerely held ethical beliefs. For example, it is not attack on academic freedom if an exam is scheduled for a Saturday and a Jewish student requests alternate arrangements, which may even require the professor to write a separate exam.

    But isn't this really an attempt to ban dissection?

    SILA is not seeking to ban dissection. We are simply trying to codify a student's right not to dissect so that each time a student exercises their right, it is honored and an appropriate non-animal course of study and examination is provided for them.

    What's next, "Writing papers is against my religion?"

    Maybe, but we doubt it--are there religions that proscribe writing papers? Student rights have limits. Professors can generally teach about whatever they want, they just do not have the freedom to make students do whatever they want. For example, professors can teach about abortion and have an examination on it, but they cannot force someone to perform an abortion.

    Since when is a belief in animal welfare a religion?

    It's not. The Supreme Court has ruled that religions do not have to be theistic, that is, one does not have to worship a specific god or goddess. They look at what role the set of beliefs plays in one's life rather than what the actual beliefs are. If someone's "ultimate concern" is that humans and other animals should peacefully coexist and if one abstains from wearing fur or leather, purchases cruelty-free products, is vegetarian, etc then her beliefs occupy the place of religion. A belief in reverence for life is also the basis of many theistic religions (Francione & Charlton, Vivisection and Dissection in the Classroom).

    Aren't students just being squeamish?

    Refusing to dissect is not about being afraid or emotional immaturity for students with religious or ethical objections. These students will often dissect an animal from an ethical source as the Humane Society endorses. It is not that dissection is "gross" but that it goes against the religious or ethical belief in the sanctity of life and that animals should not be captured or bred and then killed for education when alternatives exist.

    Why can't they just watch other students dissect?

    Watching other students dissect is not an acceptable alternative. For example, many belief systems (such as Buddhism (Words of my Perfect Teacher, by Patrul Rinpoche) and Jainism prohibit not only participating directly in unethical acts, but participating indirectly as well. So, to be forced to watch others perform dissection still goes against the religious and ethical beliefs of many individuals.

    If someone doesn't want to dissect, why did they take the course?

    Often student's don't have a choice. Introductory labs are required for several majors. Similarly, students with religious objections are required under Illinois law to be reasonably accommodated. Again, please note that the First Amendment protects beliefs that are religious in nature but does not mean that the student must be a member of an organized religion, thus vegetarian lifestyles have been upheld in court as religious in nature.

    What U of I courses dissect/vivisect?

    To find a list of courses at U of I that use dissection, please visit our Course List.

    Not all classes that dissect are required. All others are optional, so why take them?

    Ultimately, the biology major is optional too, so this argument basically goes back to one of "compassionate people shouldn't be in the life sciences." The point is, people should not be discriminated against because of their religious beliefs. Why should someone who wants to go to medical school be denied having a strong transcript full of lab courses?

    What about pre-med and pre-vet students? Don't they need to know how to dissect?

    Many Vet and Med Schools Provide Alternatives:

    Veterinary and medical schools are moving to provide humane alternatives for dissection, such as cadavers from humane sources, as well as replacing vivisections with more surgery observation and shelter spay-neuter programs. In fact, the American Medical Student Association holds that humane alternatives should be offered to students with moral and religious objections, and both Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights maintain lists of the many medical and veterinary schools that offer alternatives and humane curriculum. In addition to these organizations, Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also support the use of humane alternatives for education within these fields.

    It's Not Necessary:

    In undergraduate education, experience on live animals is not necessary--vet, med, and grad schools provide students with the necessary experience they need. Similarly, over 25 peer-reviewed studies have shown computer-and video-based alternatives to be as effective. The purpose of the undergraduate education is to learn the concepts and information further education and training builds on--alternatives can demonstrate and illustrate these concepts just as effectively, if not more effectively.

    What are some other schools that have choice policies?

    A few examples are:
    # University of California-Berkley

    # Cornell

    # Sarah Lawrence College, NY

    # University of Pennsylvania

    # Murdoch University, Australia

    # Virginia Tech

    Even vegans don't avoid all animal products, so objecting to dissection isn't part of a sincerely held belief. If it is impractical to avoid walking on concrete cured with animal products, isn't it impractical to avoid dissection?

    An individual determines his/her own religious beliefs. If a person is a vegan and subscribes to a reverence for life view, a court would have no problem agreeing that that person has a sincerely held religious belief. This is especially true given the abundance of readily available non-animal equivalents to dissection.

    What are "non-animal" alternatives to dissection?

    A multitude of models, videos, and computer-based alternatives exist, providing effective alternatives for specific educational goals. These alternatives have been shown to be as effective, or more effective, than traditional dissection. Several universities and organizations maintain extensive databases of available alternatives:
    # Alternatives Available Through the Humane Education Loan Program
    # University of California Center for Animal Alternatives
    # The NORINA Database - Audiovisual alternatives to the use of animals in teaching
    # Animalearn's Lending Library

    Isn't it unfair to spend time and money on alternatives for only a few students?

    1. Most computer programs can be borrowed from humane organizations at the cost of return postage. Also, all students pay a lab fee. Students who do not want to use animals still pay that fee, and part of it can go towards purchasing the computer programs instead of dead animals.
    2. Expenditures often need to be made to accommodate the rights of minorities who have been neglected in the past. The fact that it costs money to build wheelchair ramps is not a reason not to build them.
    3. The demand is greater than is currently recognized. Studies indicate that many undergraduates would like to be given a non-animal option. However, students are often afraid to voice their concerns because they do not know they have a choice, they are intimidated by the instructor, they fear that their grade will suffer, or they fear they will have to change their major. For optional courses, students who have ethical concerns about the course work may simply avoid them. Many other students avoid life sciences completely because of the use of animals in the classroom. In some cases students who do voice their objections are told they must complete the dissection and consequently do not know they have a choice.
    4. Alternatives quickly pay for themselves because they are reusable. (If all animals were replaced with alternatives, the University would save money now and over time.)
    Last edit by geekgolightly on Jun 22, '03
  13. by   Spidey's mom
    In Anatomy at my local community college, we had two new cadavers each semester. At first it was strange but our professor made sure we were respectful. It was pretty amazing. Soon we were so involved in the learning we forgot about our qualms.

    By the end of the semester, there wasn't much left. I can't imagine how you can keep a cadaver for more than one class. We had saved all the parts so they could have a decent burial. It was a privilege at the end of class to be asked to help put them in their pine boxes and send them off to the mortuary.

    Before we got to the human cadavers though, we did sheep eyes and cow brains and hearts. Never did any cats.

    steph

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