www.whyville.net Jun 13, 2002 Weekly Issue

A Right to Your Beliefs

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A Right to Your Beliefs

Times Writer

I am so tired! I was up all night partying, and then I had to get up early enough to go out this morning. But when I read Merchant's article, it got me thinking about some of the stuff I had read about science and dissection. (And by some miracle I am going to tie in a bit of another subject, so we'll get to the dissection thing in a minute!)

Anyway, yes, I am still vegetarian. It's been a "phase" or just another "fad" that has lasted me just about a year now. But for me, it isn't just a "fad". This is now my lifestyle. It's not like I can just walk into McDonalds and order a hamburger when I'm in a rush. I have to do a lot of my own cooking, especially now that I have cut out milk and eggs.

It has been just about a year since I started and for the most part, people don't ask me many questions. When I arrived back at school to begin my grade 7 year, with people I have known since the first day of kindergarten, they were all very shocked. And yes, it is hard to become vegetarian, because people will bug you about it. We are so afraid of being different. But lately, I have noticed that people have just learned to accept it.

At the same time, however, I have had to learn that I have to respect other people's beliefs that it is right to eat meat. Each person has the right to make their decisions, but it is also they who must live with the out come. And I've made my decision.

But I am supposed to be getting to dissection. I have had a run in with dissection. And, no it wasn't a frog or a worm. At the science camp I attended last summer, they told us that we had to dissect a pig's heart. While all of the other participants cheered, I began to feel slightly ill. (And this was one of the things that made me consider becoming vegetarian, although it was not the final factor in my choice.)

I didn't participate. The reaction of some of the kid was shocking. "Why not? I mean, the pig has been dead for ages. They're just gonna pull them out of the freezer," and another comment was, "Animals have no feelings. Why should it matter?" What made me think was, how could this eleven year old boy know if animals had feelings or not?

About a month and a half ago, our class did some work with different short stories. One of the ones that we read was "The Most Dangerous Game". It was about a Russian Army general who trapped ships on his island, and then hunted the people in them. One of the men caught happened to be an avid hunter, who had been discussing with a colleague on their boat that animals have no feelings. What if you were to become hunted?

And now, as I am supposed to be talking about animal dissection in the class, I would like to mention a few facts. (All of this is from A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian by Judy Krizmanic, possibly the most informative book I have read on the subject.)

Where does your school get the animals? Some schools purchase animals from biological supply companies, which ultimately come from the slaughterhouse. Other schools buy their supplies at pet shops, or even Animal Control Centers. Studies have shown how brutally the biological animals are treated before slaughter.

Are there alternatives? YES! In places like California, Florida or Pennsylvania you are allowed to say no to dissection if you have moral grounds. It is the law that you have right to an alternative.

What are the alternatives? Many companies are now creating software that can take you through step by step anatomy studies, or you could use a 3-D plastic model.

If you would like to find out more about objecting to dissection, you can phone this hotline (in the US, I'm not sure about other countries) (800) 922-Frog.

Just remember that you have a right to your beliefs, it's a part of your freedom. If an adult tries to tell you what is right, talk to your parents about the situation. At this age, you are able to make your own choices, and decide what is right for you. If your parents talk to your teacher or principal, you may get a change.

Okay, I think that this is long enough, wouldn't you agree? Of course, if you'd prefer, I could tell you about animal testing on products like cosmetics. Lovely subject. But, then again, maybe not today.

This Giggler01, officially over with.



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