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5 Crazy Facts About Classroom Dissection

Every year, millions of animals are dissected in classrooms across the United States. Their bodies are cut up during science lessons and thrown away afterward. All these animals felt fear, pain, and suffering, and some of them may even have been someone’s animal companion! Crazy, right?

Buckle up, because there are a few more things that you might not know about dissection.

1. Many kinds of animals are used for classroom dissection.

Rabbit Eating Plant

Frogs aren’t the only animals who are dissected. Pigs, bugs, and even cats are cut open by students.

2. All animals who are dissected were once alive.

Frog on Path

Before being cut up by students (gross!), all frogs, cats, bunnies, pigs, and other animals used for dissection were living individuals who didn’t want to be killed. None of these animals agreed to give their bodies to science, and many of them suffered before ending up on a dissection tray.

For example, fetal pigs are cut from their mothers’ bodies in slaughterhouses. Frogs are stolen from their homes in the wild and will never again be able to feel lily pads beneath their rubbery toes. And rats and mice are bred in cramped warehouses and will never get the chance to live in their natural habitats.

3. Cats used for dissection might’ve been your neighbors.

White Cat Laying on Back

Cats used for classroom dissection are sometimes stolen from neighborhoods, where they were once strays or someone’s companion animal! SO not cool.

4. Dissection isn’t the best way to learn about animals.

There are lots of fun, animal-friendly ways that students can learn about biology that don’t hurt animals, like computer programs, movies, and life-like models. Not to mention that most of these are available for free—your teacher will love that!

Studies have shown that students who use humane alternatives to dissection often perform as well as—and in many cases better than—students who dissect animals. It’s also been observed that students interested in science sometimes lose that interest after being forced to dissect. Plus, it doesn’t really make sense to study dead animals in order to learn about life. Right?

5. You can say NO!

Dog Sticking Tongue Out

States all over the country, including California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas (see the full list here!), have dissection-choice policies, which means that teachers in these states have to provide students with humane alternatives to animal dissection.

If you live in a state or district without a dissection-choice policy, ask your parents to call the school principal and ask for an alternative assignment. If that still doesn’t work, e-mail us at [email protected] for help!

Remember: All the animals who commonly end up on dissection trays—no matter how big or small or how furry or slimy—were once alive and able to feel fear, pain, and loneliness.

They may look different, and they may not be able to ask us not to hurt them, but do you honestly think anyone wants to be killed and cut up for a classroom of students? No way!

Now for some seriously good news: YOU can help end classroom dissection for good! Most of the time, it’s as easy as having a conversation with your teacher explaining why you’re against cutting up animals and letting him or her know about all the FREE animal-friendly science lessons that you and your classmates can complete instead.