- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A student group at George Washington University has gathered more than 21,000 signatures on a petition demanding the school let students opt out of animal dissections due to their “personal beliefs.”

The Care2 petition asks that students who are not pursuing a degree in biology be given the option to use “humane alternatives such as virtual lab programs and must never be penalized for choosing these alternatives.”

The petition was created by GW Animal Advocates, a campus animal-rights group aimed at spreading awareness about animal welfare and animal protection efforts, the College Fix reported.

“We, the undersigned, recognize that students should never be forced to participate in something that goes against their beliefs,” the petition states. “The additional stress caused by mandatory dissection is unnecessary and preventable.Traumatizing students by forcing them to use animals in a way that the student objects to for any reason is greatly unethical and dishonorable.

“With this petition, we are calling for an opt-out policy to be put in place at The George Washington University for students enrolled in any and all non-major biology courses that have dissection built into the curriculum,” it continues. “Many alternatives to live dissections are available, such as a virtual lab that will provide for comparable education of key points as well as increased experience as some programs have the ability to show continuous processes such as a beating heart — something live dissections cannot provide for the student.”

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