Newport-Mesa Unified School District's Board of Education president sent the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) a message Thursday revealing all its schools will end animal dissections, according to the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit anti-vivisection group. The district has not confirmed to the Weekly that David Brooks sent the message on the next page in response to outrage PCRM expressed in June to disturbing photos on Facebook of Newport Harbor High School students playing with dead cat parts.
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Here is the email PCRM says it received:
From: Dave Brooks
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2012 1:24 AM
To: 'John J. Pippin'
It is good to hear from you. You will be please to note that the school district's process of bringing improvement by engaging the people who are affected by it is working well. The staff at Newport-Mesa Schools decided to eliminate animal dissection and use electronic means in its lessons . It is very satisfying to have a problem which started at the staff level be resolved at the same level. The excellent leadership of our administrators facilitated this decision. An issue that whose beginning was very negative now has a positive conclusion.
Again, thank you for your interest.
David Brooks, President
NMUSD Board of Education
Pippin is PCRM's director of academic affairs, and the nonprofit sent the Weekly this reaction from him with the copy of Brooks' apparent email:
Animal dissection labs serve no purpose other than to kill any sense of compassion among students. As a physician, cutting cats and other animals open to learn about human anatomy makes no sense to me. We applaud Newport-Mesa for ending its animal labs, and we hope this will encourage hundreds of other U.S. schools that still dissect animals to follow suit.
Here are a couple photos, which were accompanied by equally troubling comments, that first concerned PCRM (the Weekly blurred out human faces in case they belonged to minors):
You can see more photos here:
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After PCRM raised alarm in a June 19 letter to Brooks, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wrote a letter to (PETA) followed with a communique of its own to the Newport-Mesa board president urging the district to replace cat dissection lessons with the Norfolk, Virginia-based animal rights group's "virtual dissection equipment" or "modern software."
It is unclear if that is the "electronic means" Brooks refers to in his email to PCRM.
The animal rights groups also urged Facebook to remove the images and video. As of two seconds ago, they were still up.