Discussion on Animal Dissections in the Classroom, Featuring an Interview with Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Animals in Science Policy Institute (AiSPI)

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November 15, 2019

Listen to this show here!

This the third show of the School Days series, focusing on animal dissection and featuring an interview with Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Animals in Science Policy Institute (AiSPI) in Vancouver. You can see the first show in this series on humane education featuring Zoe Weil here, and the second show on navigating school as an animal advocate and New York City’s stance on serving processed meats at school here.

Classroom Animal Dissections in North America

Non-animal dissections using materials from Animals in Science Policy Institute (AiSPI).

In North America, dissection of animals remains a prevalent practice in both elementary and secondary school science education. About 79% of science teachers in British Columbia include a hands-on dissection component as part of their classes.

The international standards for the use of animals in science consists of a guideline known as the 3 R’s, which stand for:

  1. Replacement – using non-animal methods
  2. Reduction – using fewer animals
  3. Refinement – using methods that minimize potential pain or suffering for the animal

These standards were first described 60 years ago, but they are typically not implemented in the classroom unless the individual teacher chooses to consider them. In fact, few teachers seem to even be aware of these standards existing as they are not shared as common knowledge.

Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy of Animals in Science Policy Institute on Animal Use in Classrooms

AiSPI is the first and only registered charity in Canada working solely to promote better science without the use of animals. The organization is dedicated to provide education on ethics and non-animal alternatives for research, testing, and teaching. Despite knowledge on non-animal alternatives having existed prior to 2014 when AiSPI was formed, there was a gap between alternatives development and real implementation. AiSPI works to bridge these gaps between the science, the ethics, and the people by guiding them with resources and opportunities.

Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Animals in Science Policy Institute (AiSPI).

Our feature interview is with Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Animals in Science Policy Institute (AiSPI). Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy is well suited for this position. She holds a PhD from the Animal Welfare program at the University of British Columbia (UBC), a Masters degree in Applied Animal Behaviour, as well as an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from the University of Edinburg. She has also completed a post-doctoral fellowship funded by The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. During all those experiences, she has never dissected a single animal.

Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy is currently an instructor at UBC and about to launch a new and exciting course on non-animal methods in biomedical sciences. This course begins in January and has only two spots left! If you’re enrolled at UBC and interested in this course, check online and you may be able to snatch one of these two spots. Dr. Elisabeth Ormandy is also the Board President of Now You Know Podcast, so you can hear more on these topics through Now You Know Podcast, which streams online and through Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

We’re Calling for Students and Parents for Interviews on Animal Use in the Classroom

If you have something to say about the use of animals in our school systems, and particularly if you have some solutions or changes you would like to see, please reach out to us because we want to hear from you! The last show on the School Days series will air on December 6th, 2019, so please get in touch soon. You can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or email us at RadioAnimalVoices@gmail.com.

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