Classes should have class pets because taking care of one will teach responsibility, respect for living animals, and give a sense of interdependence. If the pet dies the events and mourning that come after will teach the children life and the life cycle. The pet could also be example for learning that would make it fun to learn.
Pets should not be kept in a class. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, around 15% of children have pet allergies. This means that in any given class of 20 students, statistically 3 of them should have some sort of pet allergy. Additionally, animals can be disruptive. With constant shuffling around and natural animal noises, it can be distracting and pull children away from their learning. Caged animals such as rodents, the kind most likely to be seen in a classroom setting, need frequent cleaning. Some of these animals, such as guinea pigs, may need cleaning up to 3 times a week. If not, they begin to smell, not to mention cause hygiene problems. This not only can create an unpleasant atmosphere, but also takes class time away to ensure the animal is properly cleaned. From experience, I can tell you that cleaning rodent cages is quite a dirty task, always involving urine and fecal matter. It is also relatively expensive to keep a caged animal. Bedding alone can cost $20 a month. Some animals can exceed $1000 per yearly cost. This may not seem to be much on the surface, but the money has to come from somewhere. With at least 35 US States cutting their education budgets, there isn't a lot of room for additional expenses. Children could learn just as much responsibility, if not more, from owning their own pets. In fact, in 2012, 62% of households did, in fact, own a pet. With such a high percentage of pet ownership, taking school funds, infringing on class time, and risking kids with allergies to own a class pet is a redundant task that does not need to be done.
Reasons for voting decision: Lots of excellent analysis from Con! I'd have been more interested in the ethics of keeping pets in general, but nice work on those practical concerns! I find the allergies particularly convincing. That being said, Con, you did neglect some of Pro's points on education. You might have pointed out that keeping animals in cages and watching them die is teaching them inappropriate lessons about dominance and exploitation, as well as bad lessons on acquiring scientific knowledge at others' expense. Owning pets could have been easily turned, if there were more rounds, for the reasons you mentioned--not all families have the time, money, or ability to care for a pet, and thus a public pet would be more necessary. A stronger stance against the exploitation of animals for others' amusement and "education" I think would have been a more powerful argument. However, don't let my criticism get you down! You did a great job!
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