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Animal rights group PETA slams B.C. school after rabbits were killed, dissected in front of students

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Animal rights group PETA is slamming a small B.C. school after rabbits were killed and dissected in front of students as young as age nine.

Samantha Suiter, manager of science education for PETA said her organization received a complaint from “a person familiar with the situation” about a science class on Jan. 28, in which a teacher invited a guest who brought at least four rabbits with them.

“(The rabbits’) necks were snapped and the animals were dissected in full view of students in Grades 4 through 7,” Suiter said. “We were shocked like anyone else who is hearing about this story for the first time.”

Donna Rhindress, the partner of another teacher at the school, said many in the community were “really, really upset.”

“The kids interacted with the rabbits, they pet the rabbits, they interacted with them and then (the guests) broke the rabbits necks in front of the kids,” Rhindress said. “I was really upset when I heard about it.”

A few days after the lesson, the school principal sent a letter to parents apologizing for “not asking first.”

“Today, we apologize to our students, families and community for not showing proper respect,” the letter reads, adding the school was taking in the first step in following the Haida principle of Tll’yahda, making it right.

“We held a circle with all students in Grades 4-7 to apologize and begin the process of Tll’yahda,” the letter said.

Suiter said PETA has reached out to the school to offer education steps.

“We’re still waiting to hear back from the school, but we’re certainly hopeful that school officials understand the dangers of killing animals in front of students,” she said. “Dissection in general isn’t an acceptable practice, but then when you also pair that with murdering animals in front of students, it’s indefensible.”

A parent at the school spoke with CTV News but asked not to be identified. She has a daughter in Grade 7 who wasn’t in the class but was “bothered” by the incident.

“I was mind-blown,” the mother said. “I just couldn’t believe that something like that would happen.”

She said parents had been given permission slips for a biology class that involved dissection, but there was no mention that the class would involve live animals. She also believes the apology letter doesn’t address the actual issue.

“I don't see where they are acknowledging what happened was wrong.”

The BC SPCA is asking for anyone with “first-hand knowledge of the situation” to contact its call centre. BC SPCA spokesperson Lori Chortyk said the organization doesn’t have a constable on Haida Gwaii, but any information received can be passed on to the RCMP for investigation.

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