HC Deb 30 March 1896 vol 39 c373

I beg to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, whether he has become acquainted with the purport of statements lately published in Birmingham to the effect that a class of young girls, at the Waverley Road Board Schools, were made to dissect the bodies of rabbits; were these operations enjoined by the Government Inspector; if so, were they sanctioned by the Department as a necessary part of the education of girls; is the kind of teaching involved to be continued; and, will he see that the use of diagrams as illustrations shall be substituted for such experiments?


The dissection in question was performed by some 16 girls, not in an elementary school, but in the advanced course of the organised science school. Physiology is a compulsory subject in this course, and the regulations of the Science and Art Department require a practical acquaintance, by the use of a microscope, with the minute structure of the several tissues and organs. None of the girls were under 14, and nearly all were over 15. The Clerk to the Birmingham School Board says that the actual dissection was nothing more than any girl would necessarily perform in preparing a rabbit for stewing, and has probably been done without remark in most cookery kitchens.

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