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Editor: I am an 11th-grader at Washington-Liberty High School and a technical-animal-science student at the Arlington Career Center.

The animal-science program is at risk. The number of animals in the program has been dwindling for years. The program has not been permitted to replace the recently deceased miniature horse. Only one goat is left, and he’s 17. The sole surviving ferret, at nine, is living on borrowed time.

However, the administration wants to cut our programs even more, taking away our only goat and our four chickens.

Agriculture is the backbone of animal-science programs. The majority of American veterinary programs are found at land-grant universities, which were established for the purpose of agricultural research. These programs are necessary to protect our nation’s food-supply chain. Veterinary students don’t only learn about dogs and cats; vet-school classes cover poultry, equines, bovines and other farm animals.

Removing farm animals from the animal-science program will leave students at a competitive disadvantage when entering college pre-veterinary programs or animal science programs. Veterinary medicine is already an extremely competitive field: the acceptance rates for veterinary schools are on par with those of medical schools.

Unfortunately, the program cuts will not stop at the farm animals. The administration has demonstrated a desire to take away our animals entirely. We cannot have an animal-science program without animals!

This move won’t just take away opportunities for students to get started in the field of animal science; it also could jeopardize the college credits animal-science students are currently entitled to.

Cutting out the agricultural portion of the program – or taking away our animals entirely – is an illogical decision that will severely weaken the program’s ability to give students the skills and knowledge required in the field of animal science.

We need to convince the school administration that our animals belong here. You can call the school at (703) 228-5800 or contact the principal directly at margaret.chung@apsva.us

Sean Bender-Prouty, Arlington

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