Ethical considerations need to be addressed with respect to educational use of animals. Society extends greater latitude in what is permissible to do to an animal in the name of science to a professional research worker than to a high school student. A balance needs to be made of the significance of the expected experimental results, on the one hand, which the ethical costs, (in terms of pain or death to the animal), on the other. A reasonable boundary can be drawn, based on ethical as well as on practical considerations, to exclude invasive procedures on vertebrate animals in high school student work. The view is presented that such procedures should only be conducted in research institutions and should not be conducted in students' homes or in elementary or secondary schools. The rational basis for this stance is discussed.
Enhancement of secondary school biology education with classroom maintenance and study of a wide range of species of plants, invertebrate and vertebrate animals is needed. However, progress in this direction is dependent upon establishing sound policies on the educational use of animals based on considerations of social accountability. Current lax standards in science fairs have resulted in animal abuse and this has hampered progress in this direction. Encouragement to teachers and students to study living things must go hand in hand with proper observance of humane considerations.
Orlans, F.B. (1980). Humaneness supersedes curiosity. In H. McGiffin & N. Brownley (Eds.), Animals in education: Use of animals in high school biology classes and science fairs (pp. 106-119). Washington, DC: The Institute for the Study of Animal Problems.