Position Statement

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Dissection in the Classroom

Most of us probably recall being asked to dissect frogs, worms, turtles, pigs, cats, mice, and other animals in school. If we refused, it often meant a failing or lower grade in the class.

Today’s classroom

Even though our views on animals have changed for the better over the last 30 years, many school systems still advocate this archaic practice as a necessary element of a child’s education. Dissection not only teaches children the anatomy of only a single species, but it also teaches them that it is all right to disregard another’s life for the sake of learning.

Speaking out

Fortunately, concerned students, parents, and teachers are speaking out against dissection and asking for educational alternatives to this unnecessary killing and casual use of millions of animals. As a result, some states have already passed laws giving students the legal right to choose an alternative form of study. And students who choose high-tech alternatives, such as computer models, actually score better on tests than students who dissect animals.

What you can do

  • Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper.
  • Talk to teachers and principals about alternatives.
  • Present your viewpoint at the next school board meeting. Encourage students to speak out against dissection and seek alternatives.
  • Ask your state representatives to propose legislation that would give students the right to choose alternative methods.