Requiring students to cut up animals is pointless enough, but did you know that some schools are asking people to stab live frogs in the head with a sharp metal poker to “scramble” their brains? This cruel torture method is called “pithing.”
Pithing leaves the animals defenseless while students cut them open, apply drugs to their beating hearts, and/or attach electrodes to their exposed leg muscles after peeling off their skin. 🙁
These experiments are archaic and stupidly used to demonstrate well-known physiological concepts like how caffeine increases heart rate (duh) and how muscles contract (go ahead and flex that bicep). Seriously. Think of it this way: Physiologists (read: vivisectors) have been stabbing frogs in their heads since the 19th century—and guess what? They haven’t learned anything new! SMDH.
PETA has received reports of this happening in high schools and colleges, and yes, we’re as shocked as you are. Pithing is horrible, and if done incorrectly, it’s not guaranteed to render the frog “brain dead,” which means students could be experimenting on frogs while they’re still conscious and can feel every cut and shock of electricity. Sometimes after pithing, frogs may crouch, jump, or even make noises. ?
In the video above, you hear someone say, “The point of the pithing isn’t to kill the frog—it’s to destroy their brains.” As if that’s any better—keeping the frogs alive for the torture?
Every year, millions of frogs are taken from the wild and either killed for dissection or shipped to schools while still alive. There are lots of educationally superior humane alternatives, so you can learn anatomy and physiology without stabbing, cutting up, and killing animals who want to live just as much as you or I do.
A modern, humane alternative—with advanced lessons in muscle and nerve physiology—can and should be used instead of animals. Simulated exercises allow students to repeat the material until they’re confident with it, collect experimental data, and earn better grades.
Every time you say NO to an animal-based lab, your teacher will buy fewer animals—and you’ll have saved more living beings from a terrifying death and made a difference for our planet.