Hebrew U science students lose court battle to avoid dissecting animals

Central District Court rules deed legal; if students don't perform the dissections, they won't meet criteria for completing course.

May 11, 2009 22:12
1 minute read.
Hebrew U science students lose court battle to avoid dissecting animals

mouse 248.88. (photo credit: AP)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

A handful of Hebrew University animal science students who objected to dissecting rats and small sharks to study anatomical zoology will have to do it after all if they want to complete their degrees, following a decision by the Central District Court this week. Judge Hila Grestel ruled that the dissections in such courses were legal under the regulations protecting animals. The university said the students did not have to kill the animals, as they were imported already dead and preserved. The university's Robert Smith Faculty of Agriculture asked the court to reject the suit filed by the students, who argued that participating in dissections "violated their consciences" and contravened their basic right to freedom of conscience. Grestel rejected their argument, saying that academic freedom was also a basic right. The court declared that it could not interfere with the university's academic freedom because dissection was necessary for teaching zoology and could not be replaced by "virtual" animals on computers. The judge said the zoology students were "selective" in their understanding of "conscience" as they did not categorically oppose all animal experimentation. The court also accepted the university's view that animal dissection was presented as a requirement of the course at registration and in the students' catalogue - and that those who registered were aware of this. As a result of the ruling, if they don't perform the dissections, they will not meet the criteria for completing the course, the court said. Prof. Bertha Sivan, head of the HU department of animal sciences, commented that she was pleased with the ruling, as "it will help us preserve the academic level of our academic courses."

Related Content

[illustrative photo]
September 24, 2011
Diabetes may significantly increase risk of dementia