Advance Humane Science Education

NAVS firmly believes that no student should be punished for standing up for their right not to harm an animal. As such, we work to ensure that all students not only have the right to voice their objections to animal dissection exercises during their science education, but that they also have access to acceptable dissection alternatives.

For more than 30 years, NAVS has provided guidance and access to innovative, ethical teaching tools to replace the cruelty and waste of dissecting animal specimens. These efforts included the nation’s only “Dissection Hotline” and the first “Frog Fund,” a comprehensive library of free-loan alternatives to dissection.


Our commitment to humane science education is why we created the Biology Education Advancement Program, or BioLEAP, a comprehensive educational resource for students who do not wish to take part in classroom dissection, and for teachers and school districts looking to introduce dissection alternatives into their curricula. Through BioLEAP, we provide information about—and access to—safer, cost-effective and humane educational tools. Educators and students can also use BioLEAP to learn about student choice laws and policies that protect students’ rights to use dissection alternatives.

CHOICE initiative

NAVS collaborates with educators and school districts across the country, identifying and discussing the unique challenges they face in reducing or replacing animal use. We also work directly with state lawmakers to introduce student choice legislation that can allow students to participate in a learning experience that teaches the life sciences with respect for other living creatures.

A growing number of states already have student choice laws or policies in place. To encourage states that do not have such laws or policies, NAVS launched the nationwide CHOICE (Compassionate Humane Options in Classroom Education) initiative, a state-by-state effort to ensure that no student is punished for standing up for their right not to harm an animal.

Humane Science Award

Some of the most exciting and challenging opportunities in science education occur outside the classroom—in internships and for students participating in science fair competitions. These students should be encouraged to design experiments that promote scientific advancement without harming animals. To that end, NAVS is the only animal advocacy group allowed to honor humane science efforts at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the largest international pre-college science competition in the United States. Each year, we present the Humane Science Award to encourage young students at the earliest stages of their science careers to integrate innovation and discovery with ethics and respect for animals.

As part of our involvement at Intel ISEF, we also track the number and types of projects that use animals in order to identify trends and opportunities for the development of alternative methodologies, as well as to offer recommendations to the fair’s administrator for rule changes that would provide greater protections for animals.

Click here to view past recipients of the NAVS Humane Science Award.