Tell 'em to Hit the Bricks
Let’s see now, perhaps Washington State University could just hand its students a remote control so that they surf could the curriculum channels until they find one that suits them. Or, WSU could simply cave in to every disingenuous student who finds a class distasteful and then excuse that student from having to take the offensive class. Or, WSU could simply stand by its curriculum and tell those who are unwilling to take the courses to hit the bricks if they don’t like it.
I know that’s what would happen to an undergraduate who found political correctness distasteful and asked, for reason of personal ethics, to be excused from taking all those so-called American Diversity classes that the university requires for graduation.
Maybe I should have tried that approach with physical chemistry. “I am morally opposed to this class,” I should have said, “and according to my reading of the First Amendment, I can’t be made to take p-chem.” Somehow, I think that I would have been laughed off campus.
A couple of second year WSU veterinary students object to certain parts of the Veterinary School’s curriculum. In particular, they don’t like lab classes and projects that use live animals in procedures that are sometimes terminal.
One of those students, Brad White, complains that, "The College of Veterinary Medicine is refusing to give alternatives to students who are morally and ethically opposed to certain laboratories in the curriculum."
The other student, Hannah Mueller, who is threatening a lawsuit, reveals that she knows just as much about the United States Constitution as she does about veterinary medicine with her complaint. "It is a violation of my First Amendment rights," she said. "I'm lucky to be in vet school, but I have no choices. If the public knew what was going on, they'd be horrified."
I suspect that the public does know what’s going on. In fact, even Ms. Mueller and Mr. White knew what to expect before they ever set foot within the halls of the veterinary school.
That’s because after being accepted to veterinary medical school, Ms. Mueller and Mr. White were provided with the school’s policies and procedures. Along with policies on “Attendance at Examinations and Required Exercises,” “Academic Standards,” “Essential Requirements,” and “Duty Hours,” each of them received a copy of, “Policy on Animal Use in Laboratory Exercises.” No secrets were kept from them. But I doubt that even if they had not been notified in writing, they knew what was to be expected of them.
Veterinary medicine involves performing surgery on animals. The best way to learn that surgery is by actually doing the surgery.
The animal rights crowd thinks that veterinary medicine should use the example of medical schools, where students learn by simply observing actual surgeries on actual patients and by dissecting cadavers.
Ann Stauble, of the New England Antivivisection Society advises that: "As in human medicine, veterinary students can and should learn from observing practicing veterinarians and slowly work their way to hands-on surgery and treatment. Through models, the use of ethical-source cadavers, spay-neuter programs and many other options, veterinary students become fully competent to heal - without having to kill first."
And I suppose that we could also have veterinarians serve a few years of internship before they can practice on their own.
The fact is that no adorable little puppies die that would not already die if there weren’t a veterinary school. Every dog or cat that finds its way into a terminal laboratory project was already scheduled for euthanasia at a nearby animal shelter. At least these abandoned animals can serve to improve the health of other animals. Otherwise, they are just executed and disposed of.
I’ve got a solution to Mr. White and Ms. Mueller’s dilemma – leave! They knew very well what they were getting into. The veterinary school’s curriculum has already been modified to satisfy the requirements of Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, which enthusiastically endorsed WSU for minimizing animal use in its newsletter. For these two to demand now that the university should change its curriculum simply because they don’t like it is the sort of naïve arrogance that one would only expect to find in, well, college students.
And, if they don’t want to leave or conform, laugh them off campus.