Wondering Why?

Why are fetal pigs good for dissection?

Dissections are a normal part of the life of a student of medicine. While reptiles are often preferred in high school, universities and research centers tend to use a variety of dissection samples. One of these is a fetal pig.

Such a specimen has obvious advantages. When studying the human anatomy, it is preferred that the closest thing similar to a human is used. While that logic dictates that the ideal specimen is from the ape family, it will be quite a difficult task to get hands on one! Pigs are mammals, and most of their body parts are quite similar to that of a human. A fetal pig would have had developed substantial features of the same regard.

With the recognition of animal rights, dissection specimens have to be chosen in a way that is not demeaning or cruel. Two other advantages stem from here. First, fetal pigs are not bred specifically for dissection. They result as a by-product from the pork industry, and are of no use to them. Secondly, fetal pigs are not killed for the purpose of dissection. They mostly die due to natural causes. Animal activists are strictly against breeding or killing animals for the sole purpose of testing. A fetal pig falls in neither category and is therefore a perfect specimen. In fact, in the circumstances, using them for educational purposes is much better compared to being used in the fertilizer industry.

Dissections are an integral part of practical medicine. Without this practice, we would never have achieved the hands-on experience that is so vital when working on actual cases. Fetal pigs have helped us come a long way in understanding the human anatomy, and will continue to do so in the future.


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