Students: Just Say No to Dissection

Every year millions of students around the United States dissect animals with no regard as to where that animal came from or how it suffered. Although the dissections are for learning purposes, does the value of this type of education outweigh the cruelty that goes on behind the scenes?

Dissection animals are born with the miserable fate of being raised specifically for scientific experimentation, or are purchased from factory farms, animal shelters, or fur farms. Most invertebrate animals are taken out of their natural habitats, and many dogs are found in “free to a good home” advertisements, or even taken off the street. Surprisingly, dissection dogs can even be taken out of their guardians’ backyards.

The practice is horrible for kids too: Due to the chemicals used to keep the animals from rotting, like formaldehyde, dissection can cause health issues such as cancer, eye damage, asthma attacks, and bronchitis. The process of dissection has also been linked to environmental issues due to the removal of animals from the wild and the disruption of fragile ecosystems.

Thankfully, you can oppose dissection is a peaceful manner:

1. Student Choice laws are currently in place in the states of Florida, California, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Illinois, Virginia, Oregon, New Jersey, and Vermont. Under these laws, students have the right to seek an alternative assignment to dissection without being penalized, and they do not have to participate directly or indirectly.

If this is a law in your state, take advantage of it! Usually, all you will need to do is respectfully ask your teacher for an alternative assignment. If the teacher does not respect your beliefs, you can take it to the principal, the school board, or even the superintendent. You have a right to speak up for your beliefs and nobody can tell you otherwise.

2. If you do not live in a state with Student Choice laws in place, do not give up—you still have a voice! Request a meeting with your teacher as soon as possible after dissection is assigned so that he or she has ample time to come up with an alternative. Be open about your concerns and clear that dissection violates your moral beliefs. Let your teacher know about the many alternatives available, such as computer programs, models, and books. If you have trouble finding these, there are many nonprofit organizations that lend them out. Chances are you will not be the only student worried about dissection—form a group and voice your concerns together. There is more power in numbers!

Why should students have a right to alternatives? For one thing, dissection teaches students that animals are disposable, and students who respect animals should be able to oppose this. Using alternatives teaches students to respect all life while at the same time offering a cruelty-free choice for education. Students should not have to worry about cutting up an animal, or feel forced to participate. Class should be fun and educational, not stressful or inhumane.

Though only fifteen years old, Andrew Puccetti has already shown immense dedication and passion for the well-being of animals––learn about Andrew’s non-profit organization Live Life Humane!

Frog Dissections Banned at California High School
Animals in the Classroom
Teachers: Put Some Green in Your Lesson Plans

By Andrew Puccetti for TAILS


Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla3 years ago

Petition signed

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen4 years ago

i hear you can be a veterinary surgeon and be a very good one and never have dissected anything ever.

is that true? how many of them are there for me to ask for proof?

Joan Mcallister
4 years ago

Thank goodness I never was in the position of having to do this. Thanks for sharing

David V.
David V4 years ago

Thankfully I never had to do that. I believe this practice needs to stop. There are other alternatives that need to be explored. Students - JUST SAY NO!

Kathy M.
Kathy M4 years ago

I never had to do this. I find it barbaric that at this day and age we can not find a better way .

Marie W.
Marie W4 years ago

Not necessary.

Erynn S.

In the UK, this is not required, and yet we produce many perfectly well educated biologists. Turns out killing things when there are alternatives isn't quality education, it's laziness. Yes, dissections are required to teach doctors and biologists. NO, they are NOT required to teach 14-18 year olds how bodies function. We can do that with models, diagrams, computers, and failing all that, the help of a local butcher.
We should not be teaching children to lack compassion for the weak and defenseless - even frogs and fruit flies.

Ajla C.
Past Member 4 years ago

slazem se

Giana Peranio-paz

Say no! Unclalled for and unnecessary!