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THE ETHICS OF USING CATS FOR MEDICAL SCIENCE DISSECTIONS The question of the ethics of using cats for medical science dissection and learning can and should be raised. The ethical argument against the use of cats would be stronger if cats were bred specifically to be killed for dissection. However, the cats we use are the product of uncontrolled reproduction of pets. The surplus wind up at the animal shelter. At the animal shelter, the majority of cats are "euthanized" in a hypobaric chamber. In this chamber, the air is pumped out until the animal first passes out, and eventually dies of oxygen starvation. In the great majority of cases, the carcasses are then either cremated or buried. It is clear that using these animals which have already been euthanized yields at least one positive outcome of their sad deaths, one of advancing the teaching of medical science. Until the pet population explosion is under control and there is no surplus of euthanized cats, it would seem that a constructive use of a social tragedy is to be encouraged.

Basic Terminology:

Anterior: toward front Caudal: toward tail Cephalad: toward head Distal: away from midline Dorsal: toward tail Inferior: below Lateral: away from periphery Medial: toward midline Mesial: toward midline Posterior: toward back Proximal: toward midline Superior: above Ventral: toward belly

1. Digastric 2. Mylohyoid 3. Geniohyoid 4. Sternohyoid 5. Sternomastoid 6. Clavotrapezius 7. External Jugular Vein


The cat has 4 pectoral muscles: Pectoralis major Pectantebrachialis Pectoralis minor Xiphihumeralis

9 Muscles_files/19cat.jpg

5 5

3: Internal Oblique 2: Transversus abdominus 4: External oblique 5: Rectus abdominus anatomyatlas/cat_muscles/abdominal.jpg

1: Spinotrapezius 2: Acromiotrapezius 3: Clavotrapezius 5: Latissimus dorsi 8: Clavodeltoid

7 8 6

1: Supraspinatus 2: Infraspinatus 3: Teres major 6: Latissimus dorsi 7: Splenius 8: Rhomboid backdeep.jpg




Biceps brachii Epitrochlearis



A Bicep femoris B Caudofemoralis C Gluteus maximus D Gluteus medius E Tensor fasciae latae G Sartorius