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animal rights | education | environment

P.E.T.A. Demands End to Gruesome Animal-Slaughter Program at Local High School

Friday morning, P.E.T.A. (People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals) fired off a letter to North Clackamas School District Superintendent Ron Naso, imploring him to immediately cease the slaughter of sheep and other animals as part of an animal-science class at North Clackamas High School. According to the district's own report, several sheep had their throats slit and necks broken while students looked on at the Sabin-Schellenberg Center, which is part of the school district.
Picture from Peta's Teachkind website
Picture from Peta's Teachkind website
October 29, 2004

To: Milwaukee, Ore.

From: Jacqueline Domac 310-713-7070;  JackieD@peta.org

David Perle 757-622-7382, ext. 8410

Re: PETA Demands End to Gruesome Animal-Slaughter Program at Local High School

2 pages via fax and e-mail:

This morning, PETA fired off a letter to North Clackamas School District Superintendent Ron Naso, imploring him to immediately cease the slaughter of sheep and other animals as part of an animal-science class at North Clackamas High School. According to the district's own report, several sheep had their throats slit and necks broken while students looked on at the Sabin-Schellenberg Center, which is part of the school district.

At least one student withdrew from the class after observing that the animals were suffering and did not die immediately. Although the district has indicated that it might move the killing off-campus, PETA is calling for an end to the program altogether.

PETA points out that such training has no rightful place in the public school system because demonstrating violence toward animals is not only illegal, it also provides a dangerous lesson that desensitizes students to the well-being of others. Studies show that most perpetuators of violence against humans—including the killers at Columbine and other high schools—first "practiced" their crimes on animals.

"In today's world, violence in schools is becoming increasingly common," says PETA Humane Educator Jay Kelly. "Educators owe it to their students to provide them with a nonviolent education, and they owe it to the community not to teach students lessons of violence and disrespect for life."

For more information, please visit PETA's Web site TeachKind.org.

PETA's letter to North Clackamas School District Superintendent Ron Naso follows.

October 29, 2004

Ron Naso, Superintendent

North Clackamas School District

4444 S.E. Lake Rd.

Milwaukie, OR 97222

Dear Mr. Naso:

As a member of the National Education Association and an award-winning educator, I am incensed to learn of students' being exposed to the gruesome slaughter of sheep in their animal science class at Clackamas High School. According to the school district's report, a mobile slaughtering service slit the throats and broke the necks of several sheep as a high school "lesson" in animal science, traumatizing students to the point of withdrawing from the course.

Teaching students to care for animals fosters respect and sensitivity. But demonstrating violence toward animals is not only illegal, it also provides a dangerous lesson that desensitizes students to the well-being of others. Such training has no rightful place in our public school system. Although some claim that it's necessary for students to understand how to raise animals for food in farm communities, with a moment's thought, most would agree that such a curriculum has no meaningful application to today's factory-farm practices.

Demonstrating killing techniques to students after encouraging their natural sense of empathy and compassion for animals is beyond the realm of acceptable curriculum content. For this reason, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for public schools to immediately cease raising and slaughtering animals on school grounds and to remove the practice from any existing courses.

For more than 15 years, North Clackamas public schools have had a proud history of character education based on compassion and respect for others. But slaughtering animals in class flies in the face of such virtues. Studies repeatedly reveal that most perpetrators of human abuse first "practiced" their crimes on animals. With violence in our schools at an all-time high and given the undeniable connection between cruelty to animals and violence toward humans, it is imperative that slaughtering animals be eliminated from the public school system.

I look forward to working with you to create a safer, more productive learning environment for young students. Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Jacqueline Domac

Education Policy Specialist

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

cc: Vicki Chambers, Assistant Superintendent, North Clackamas Public Schools

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

homepage: homepage: http://teachkind.org/
phone: phone: (503) - 230 -8360

I seriously disagree 30.Oct.2004 11:56

Mike stepbystpefarm <a> mtdata.com

It SHOULD be part of the education process, not just the Animal Science course but all students except those who are vegetarians.

Meat does not come from plastic packages and our young people should not be allowed to go through life blithely eating meat without understand what that means --- if you are going to eat meat, then an animal must get killed.

As for the kids in the Animal Science course, yes I'm afraid that they need to do more than watch but learn to do it themselves. Sorry PETA folks, but even in this day of "factory farming", even in this day when most farms send the critters off to market to be slaughtered in "factories", they DON'T do that for their own meat << think they are crazy? sell animals for sixty cents a pound and then buy it back in supermarkets at 3.60 a pound? >>

And I resent the proposition that our farm kids, raised to face the realities of what eating meat means, are less moral, less sensitive, etc. etc. than your city kids.

PS --- Lest you mistake the messenger, in spite of our address this is not a commercial farm but wildlife habitat and while we raise much of our own food, not meat. But that's OUR choice. Unlike you we want to see humans living in balance with Nature as a part of Nature, not as some "higher" more spiritual beings. We are animals, and some animals eat other animals. We do not consider vegetarian animals "better" than carnivores and omnivores. But since humans are thinking animals, we should not make this choice (to be vegetarian or not) without thinking about it and understanding and accepting responsibility for what our choices mean.

MIKE IS SICK! 30.Oct.2004 12:50


dear mike,
you are a sicko!

Thanks, but I knew that already 30.Oct.2004 13:26

Mike stepbystpefarm <a> mtdata.com

I'm going to go kick some puppies now.

add justice and a good life to the animals 30.Oct.2004 14:00


the way people treat animals is indeed how you can tell real worth. having worked with animals for twenty years i can tell you that peta has a valid point of view. the emprire exploites animals by putting them in cages from which they never emerge their whole life. the prime example is chickens. the crime of putting chickens in cages is a crime as bad as putting jews in concentration camps by the german nazis. it is anti-worker, lazy and unjust. it causes the animal to lose its instincts and heredity. we liberated twenty-five chickens from monopoly capitalist cages and set them free on an organic commune. they took thirty years to make a come back so they could breed in the wild again. they did not know what dust baths were , they had never seen the sunshine, they took a long time to begin eating bugs and worms and kitchen wastes, grass and just enjoying the day scratching out a living. when we got them they were sickly, pale pink combs that flopped over and we had to borrow banty blood to get them breeding again. the eggs soon became vital with an orange yolk and we noticed that fresh organic eggs made us noticably healthy and the eggs from chickens in cages made us pale and listless. the same holds true for monopoly capitalism raising pigs on cement floors, and cattle in feedlots where they leave them living in their shit. that kind of treatment is becomming a holocaust on animals. just because they are a different species does not mean we should treat them unjustly, we need to do our best with what instincts and abilities they and we have. that is the meaning of the organic revolution in agriculture. the deep worth of a person can well be judged by how he or she treats the plants and animals.

. 30.Oct.2004 15:46


I have found that eating the animal is usually easier when it has been killed first. Ever try to cook a live rabbit? Not easy, messy and loud (rabbit screams sound like human)

Bon appitite

How strange 30.Oct.2004 15:46

Mike stepbystpefarm <a> mtdata.com

You think people should eat meat WITHOUT having to face the reality of what that means? That they should be able to pretend "oh, no, it's not me killing the animal, no blood on MY hands"?

You think I'm "sick" for suggesting that maybe all people who choose to eat meat should have to at least once in their lives WATCH. Watch while some animal they are shortly going to eat is killed, accept having some of the blood smeared on their hands so that they cannot pretend that it for THEM this animal has been killed. Watch as it is dressed, skinned, and butchered -- and some cooked. At least then is they choose to continue to eat meat they cannot pretend they don't know.

I guess that's the way you feel about a lot of things. I guess nobody should force you to face facts like innocent civilians killed in wars, people starving, or what your chosen way of living does to this planet. It's all somebody else's fault, the capitalists, the politicians, the......

Look in the mirror for one damned minute. It's OUR responsibility. Don't you understand? I am not telling people to eat meat or not eat meat but to make up their minds with full understanding. And how can they have understanding if we hide the realities.

Lay off Mike 30.Oct.2004 16:19


I agree with Mike in the thrust of his argument but not his method. True, society needs to learn that there are no quarter pounder with cheese trees out there and what they eat was a living being who endured a level of suffering that we would consider a war crime if it were being done to humans. How ever the senseless killing of animals for this class I'm sure has little to do with demonstrating how animals are killed for food thus few would make the link (people are generaly stupid) between death and mutton. Factory farming is barbaric and un-necessary and if there were any sanity left in this world people would realize this but eating meat isn't a crime, it's a fair bit cheaper that eating a vegan diet, a privelege afforded to very few.

Dear Mike 30.Oct.2004 17:06

a friend

Humans have a choice. Who would add unnecessary suffering to the world? Additionally, you can't eat meat and be an environmentalist. Eating higher on the food chain is devastating the planet. It's so easy not to eat a living creature who doesn't want to die or live a life of pain and suffering . . .

Thanks for posting and furthering the dialogue.

I'd like to correct the statement that eating 30.Oct.2004 18:19

frugal vegan!

vegan is more expensive than a meat-based diet. I cook rice and beans, and make sauces etc. I make them in bulk and freeze the leftover. It doesn't take a lot of time, nor does it take a lot of money, relative to what most meat eaters spend. I don't have the resources to eat organically, which I'm sorry for, but it does NOT take more money to eat vegan. If you buy all the fake meats and such, it will cost more money, but no one has to do that. Throw in a single B-12 pill a couple times a week (can purchase inexpensively and lasts a long time), and you're good.

well...how abut kebab classes after? 31.Oct.2004 01:59


sounds pretty brutal....
at least they should continue and do a Kebab class afterwards... otherwise it just remains sheer violence..
AND anyone who eats meat should realize that cickens don't just grow in plastic bags in the freezer department (well... don't know about cickens... we'll have to ask KFC about that! :-), and that somebody has to kill the meat you eat. might as well be you, at least you know what you're eating.

Better stick to the ethical arguments 31.Oct.2004 04:40

Mike stepbystepfarm <a> mtdata.com

"Additionally, you can't eat meat and be an environmentalist. Eating higher on the food chain is devastating the planet"

From THAT you can only get to a case for eating LESS meat. It doesn't support the case fro vegetarianism and the matter is totally bioregional. For example considering the land here at Step by Step (in the mountains of New England) less than one hectare of the place is level enough for cropping (a number of scattered "steps", natural terraces, about 1/4 acre each -- the glacial "kames" which is one meaning of the name we go by) but perhaps 90% of the rest suitable for cattle or sheep (and all of it for goats). Again you can't make the vegetarian case based upon the grain fed cattle of factory farming becuase that refers to what most of us currently do, not what we could do. And PLEASE, don't try to make out that it would be "environmental" to terraform the entire place into terraces so that vegetable crops could be grown. For maximal food production HERE with minimal impact to the environment we should be raising meat << the land would easily support perhaps 40-50 cattle of breeds suitable to "just grass" >>

The point I am TRYING to make is that the argument "we humans have a choice" is based upon the notion that being a vegetarian animal is BETTER (in some way) than being an omnivorous or carnivorious animal. It is fine for you to have such a belief. But by the same token, it is not obviously crazy for other people not to agree with you in seeing nothing "better" about being vegetarian. You need to think more about this "better", clarify what it is based upon, find ways of expressing that to others. Not simply assume "it's obvious".

Mike the Moron 31.Oct.2004 16:12


Yeah, I'm SURE that all of the methane produced from the excraement of animals is GREAT for the environment. Take your head out of your ass, you speciesist imbecile.

A prefect example of what I am trying to prevent 01.Nov.2004 10:36

Mike stepbystpefarm <a> mtdata.com

"Anti-Moron", not only do you persist in making silly assumptions about my position (with regard to eating meat) and show a lack of basic Biology/Ecology knowledge* (well THAT, at least is excusable) but you try to use words you do not understand. That results in your making a poor case for vegetarianism rather than a good one.

It's bad enough that you seem to think ANYTHING in what I have been saying is based upon "speciesism". Far worse that you apparently have an idea that a basis of "speciesism" is on one side or the other of the question "should humans eat meat?". IT ISN'T. It's a basis of thought whihc could be found on EITHER side of the question. Let me try to make that clear. Suppose we have three people, A, B, and C.

A says: "Animals were put on Earth for the benefit and use of us humans." Now that is one form of "speciesist" argument for eating meat. OK so far?

B says: "Some animals eat other animals. There is nothing wrong when a wolf kills and eats a deer and by the same token nothing wrong when I kill an eat a deer. I am no less an animal than the wolf." Now that's another argument for eating meat, but it's NOT a "speciesist" argument. In fact, the exact opposite becuase it is based upon a claim of no essential difference in the moral state of animals of different species.

C says: (perhaps in repsonse to B) "There is a difference. The wolf has no choice, cannot even think about the moral issue. But we humans are rational beings, able to think and make moral choices. We can be better than a wolf." Now this is a good argument for vegetarianism. But it is most certainly based upon "speciesism" (humans essentially differwent and better than other species). Do you see what I am saying? You need to be careful about simply tossing the word around as if it were necessarily a pejorative expression.

Look, all of us know (or should know) that when we discuss "religion" the sincerity with which we hold our own beliefs does not convince and we cannot expect others to recognize OUR "obvious" truths. Getting shriller doesn't help. Threatening to impose the ways implied by our beliefs upon others (if we can get enough votes) doesn't help. If we were talkign about this in other terms, making it EXPLICIT that this were "about religion" it might be more obvious. For example the Jains practice "ahimsa" (non-harming of animals). Some hunter gatherer might have a "religion" based upon panentheism (everything being enspirited) but this not preventing the killing and eating of animals provided being done in a suitably respectful manner.

Now I am not interested in discussing whether Jainism is or is not superior to this "primative" religion X (you are free to decide either way). What I want to talk about is how a Jain should approach a person of the X tribe to convince them of the moral superiority of "ahimsa". What the Jain's expectations should be. Does it help of the Jain keeps repeating "I know I am right, it's OBVIOUS"? How DO we need to talk to people when trying to convince them that our religion is better than theirs?

This has direct bearing on our arguments for vegetarianism. If you don't see that, you are being just as blind as the person who prosyletizes and cannot understand why their targets refuse to see the OBVIOUS truth of the message. Remember back where this all started? I was suggesting that if people had to witness where their meat came from that might make a difference -- and at least that way their choice would be with full expereincial knowledge.

* -- the methane is produced by the flora in the rumen of ruminants, and cows, of course, are ruminants. The error in thinking is that the presense of absence of humans in the biosphere has anything to do with the matter << ruminants will fill the niche for their type of grazers and browsers up to the capicity of that niche in the absence of humans -- if we humans had never come here no cows, but just as much methane from bison, pronghorns, and the members of the deer family>>

Yo Mike 02.Nov.2004 14:03


I have a flat tire.

May I borrow some of that HOT AIR of yours?

Illegal sheep slaughter at Sabin Schellenberg Land Lab 20.Nov.2004 13:51

mom of student

I think what I'd hope all of you who read about my daughters experience will understand is we don't take a stand in this situation about eating meat or where it comes from. I do have my beliefs about this but this is not the place for our family to interject our beliefs on you. Our purpose is to insist that our public schools teach legal practices to our children. It was an illegal slaughter done on public school property. This method has been taught to our students who may be future farmers and veterinarians as a proper method of slaughter for 36 years at this school. This is not the case. It was so bad the teachers were not there to explain the process. The mobile slaughterer admitted this was not his normal method of slaughter. He would normally use a 22 to shoot the animals prior to butchering them. But because weapons are not allowed on school property he wasn't able to discharg a gun. So the best method was to torture those sheep, illegally. What message does this give our kids? I realize it will cost the Agriculture program money to take the animals to Independence, Oregon to a USDA approved slaughter facility. They will have to budget for this so that they teach the optimum methods of farming. They certainly won't be considered a respectable program by teaching sub-standard methods. I think the students, with parental permission should be given the opportunity to witness a slaughter house if they are to become farmers, veterinarians, etc. But they should witness the real world, not some little mobile slaughter's perception of what is proper. Obviously this business is unscrupulous as he slaughtered those animals illegally.

My other concern as a parent is the school district has a responsibility as teachers to model behaviors that they expect from the students they serve. To teach illegal methods in any capacity is not in alignment for good role modeling for our students.

What you should know is:
1. We were not advised that this was going to happen.
2. There were no teachers at the slaughter area to explain the process. Thus, no learning benefit from the activity.
3. The activity was in fact illegally done on school property with the knowledge of the school administrators.
4. We don't wish the program to be ended, we demand the program to adhere to federal law and to teach legal methods to their students. We demand that parents are notified of their practices and permission slips acquired prior to the activity.
5. Humane education implented to off-set this other form of education should be adopted into this program. The students should be taught the realities of factory farming, it's effects on our environment and the argument of sustainable farming as a perspective study. This is what a quality program should offer students.

The school district boasts about excellence in their programs, to be honest this certainly can't be considered excellent until these changes are made. I hope we will all keep our eyes and ears open so this never happens again.

I agree completely 13.Jun.2005 19:48

amanda fartheraway85@hotmail.com

I was in that class and I had to witness all of it. Chickens had their necks slit and were hung upside down so they slowly bled to death...the sheep that had their necks cut were tiny babies! The teacher dug holes, slit the lambs throats and shoved them into the hole and had students bury them. The teacher that made us do it is still there..and is in charge of the program now. Plus she also cheats at county fairs...but thats a completely different topic...

Amanda, you are wrong. 13.Jun.2005 23:52

student in the class

i am in that class every day and every single thing that you have said is false.
the teacher was never involved with the slaughter. a company came out to the site and did everything. there was no student involvement or digging any of holes. the teacher told us that the act would be happening and that we in no way had to witness it.
mrs. mayfield (holmes) never cheats!

Mom of Student,
i know your daughter for we have had classes together in the past.
she completely over reacted to the situation. i agree that the parents and students should have been sent some type of letter explaining the process.
one of the 2 teachers was with everyone in the classroom and explained to us exactly what would be happenning
even though it may not have been the best way of killing the sheep, it was the most humane way possible (without using a gun)
the sheep died within 3 seconds and the didn't suffer.



In Spielberg's movie, War of the Worlds there is a part where Ray and Rachael are snatched up by one of the huge alien "harvesting" machines and placed in a basket.

There are many people in this basket, there is no escape and everyone in these baskets can see the people before them being sucked up by ??? (whatever the heck it was)and seconds later mass quanities of blood and ? (guts) is sprewed out over the fields below to fertilize the "blood weed" below.

The machines make a horrid sound that is deafening as they go about collecting as much fertilizer as possible. There is no where to hide, the aliens are very proficient in their ability to kill.

Watching the "harvesting" part of this movie, made me realize the sheer terror and hopelessness an animal must feel to be trapped, watching those further up in the line being "processed".

In reality there are monsters and their name is man. Like the War of the World "martians" they are unempathetic, cold, savage and because of their "vast intellect" believe that their superior intellect gives them the inevitable right to do anything they please to anything that is beneath their cold and cruel intellegence.

If you buy dead animals or their "by products" you support this exact same logic.

Most people don't want to think about these things because they know in their heart it's not right. That's why slaughter houses and factory farms are hidden away.

Most people want to believe they are kind and "basically good" so they pay someone else to do their dirty work that way they don't have to take responsibilty.