Make this school year count for animals: Respect, don’t dissect!

The beginning of a new school year is right around the corner, and it is important to make this year count for animals used in education. Tens of millions of animals are estimated to be used every year for dissection exercises in this country alone. Many of these animals are “purpose bred” or harvested from the wild just to be killed for use as dissection specimens.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Although dissection is a deeply-rooted classroom tradition, the good news is that the practice is not necessary for teaching the life sciences. To help replace and reduce animal use in education, NAVS’ Biology Education Advancement Program (BioLEAP) offers helpful information and resources for those interested in effective and humane dissection alternatives that can reduce and replace animal use in education.

Did you know:

  • Students who utilize humane alternatives to dissection perform as well as or better than students who participate in dissection exercises.
  • Students are more willing to complete exercises when using alternatives compared to traditional dissection.
  • Alternatives cost less than animal dissection.
  • 16 states and Washington, DC, have adopted student choice policies or laws giving students the choice to opt out of dissection. Through our Compassionate Humane Options in Classroom Education (CHOICE) initiative, NAVS is working with lawmakers in states where students lack this right to encourage the introduction of student choice legislation. We are also working with educators in states with student choice laws and policies to help ensure they are complying with their student choice measures.
  • Most biology teachers will permit their students to use a dissection alternative if requested—so speak up if you have objections to dissection. The sooner you can confirm arrangements to use dissection alternatives, the better.

This year, make a pledge to keep the LIFE in life sciences. Visit BioLEAP today to learn more about cost-effective and humane alternatives to animal use in the classroom. 


Image detail from “The Formulating Frog” by Garrison Dixon, Art for Animals 2010

This entry was posted in News and tagged on July 29, 2019.
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