Frog Dissections Banned at California High School

Rancho Verde High School near Riverside, CA has banned frog dissections and replaced them with computer-based virtual learning experiences. They are apparently the first high school to ban the dissection of real frogs in favor of learning the same process with software. Why switch? Millions of real animals are used in schools for dissection each year according to Animal Welfare Online.

The school received the software for free, in exchange for a five-year minimum commitment to not use real frogs any longer. Rancho Verde will save $6,800 by not having to purchase 30 frog dissection kits over the five-year period.

The Animal Welfare Institute and Save the Frogs! are working together to help schools move from real dissections to virtual ones, by sponsoring a contest to donate the virtual dissection software for free to the first 25 schools that agree to permanently drop using real animals.

Save the Frogs! wants to end all real frog dissections in American public schools by 2014. Their reasoning for wanting to stop the use of real frogs is based in the fact wild frog species around the world are in a steep decline due to a fungus epidemic, climate change and habitat loss. A very large number of frogs used in dissection are taken from wild places, only adding to the loss of frog species. Dissection frogs raised on farms can carry infectious diseases, and are nonnative species, which sometimes escape and do damage to local habitats. Frog dissections are not done only in the US though, “You are doing a commendable initiative in saving the frogs, as dissections in secondary schools claim the lives of thousands of frogs in Tanzania unnecessarily”, said Ignas, a Masters Student from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. (Source: Save the Frogs!)

Save the Frogs! also says using real specimens teaches youth animals are disposable. It might also teach them animal life is not of any great significance, as the specimens are used for a while, then thrown away.

Frog dissection in the US for educational purposes has been going since at least the 1920s. Fortunately in today’s computer age there are viable alternatives using software programs, and it is no longer necessary to kill a huge number of frogs and other animals. Another benefit of using software is that through repeated student interactions, it can be enhanced and new versions can be created going forward.

Image Credit: Public Domain

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Waltraud U.
Waltraud U.3 years ago

It is time to end this infantilism.
Thanks to schoolmanager.

Pamela W.
Pamela W.3 years ago

Great news and not before time !! But the battle is far from won - animals are being SACRIFICED needlessly in so many other instances too. What's the use of technical progress if nobody uses it ????????????

p.s. Think it's time I got a real photo on my AVATAR ..... that FROG is a dodgy "cover" !!

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago

good news

New G.
New G.3 years ago

Thank you.

Sarah M.
Sarah M.4 years ago

Awesome! They need to do this everywhere!

Asiatic Lion
Asiatic Lion4 years ago

thank goodness. i always found it hard to dissect frogs!! in school

Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thanks for this great article.

Andrea W.
.4 years ago

Fortunately I married during my first year at high school so I missed this wonderful part. . .
I did go back to high school for my equivalence for my diploma. . .

Kayla Renee
Kayla Renee4 years ago

Being thrown in juvenile hall for dissecting frogs? Yikes, commenters. I'd like to point out that in the case of fetal pig dissections (the case of other animal specimens, I am unsure), the fetuses are taken from pregnant pigs that are to be slaughtered, preventing the waste of the fetus being turned into feed or simply disposed of. Although I do not feel we should gather our most precious animal species to be dissected to a point of extinction or even endangering biodiversity, I feel that as a biologist, it is imperative to know how the inner structures of animals work in order to have the knowledge to preserve species. I am unsure if virtual dissection can be as beneficial, as I have heard it can be expensive software.

Stephanie Todd
Stephanie Todd4 years ago

Way to go Cali! :)

I'm so thankful that our school had the plastic frogs for biology.