When NAVS was founded 90 years ago, one of the first issues on our agenda was exposing the cruelty of using animals for dissection. Over the years, dissection has remained an important issue for NAVS. From the early days of the NAVS Dissection Hotline, which gave telephone advice and assistance to students who did not want to dissect, to today’s BioLEAP (Biology Education Advancement Program), which offers a wealth of online guidance and resources to teachers, students and even legislators who wish to advance humane science in their schools and in their states, NAVS has prioritized the harm done through dissection.
While recent legislative efforts have focused on giving individual students the right to refuse to participate in dissection—an option granted to students in 16 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in hundreds of individual school districts around the country— California is taking an even stronger stand in support of animals by considering a total ban on dissection in grades K-12.
AB 1586 would update the state’s Education Code by amending its “Modernization of Biological Teaching Methods and Pupils’ Rights to Refrain from the Harmful or Destructive Use of Animals” section to prohibit a student in a California private or public school in grades K-12 from performing dissection. Thanks go to Assemblyman Ash Kalra (Dist. 27) for introducing this bill, which represents an important step in recognizing the value of a humane science education.
If you live in California, please contact your state Assemblyperson and ask them to give their full support to legislation to ban dissection from the schools.
If you do not live in California, please send a message to your own state legislators asking them to consider adopting this legislation in your state.