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Often all you have to do to get an alternative project is politely ask for one. If you are faced with a classroom dissection, carefully read the following information and the associated pages. If you have any questions at any stage or if you succeed in receiving an alternative project, please contact us.
When you find out that a dissection is planned, meet with your teacher or professor as soon as possible, tell him or her that you cannot participate because of your “sincerely held religious and moral beliefs about the sanctity of all life,” and ask for a non-animal alternative. State your position in writing, be calm and polite, and ask for a prompt response.
Know the alternatives. Research them beforehand, and be ready to discuss specific possibilities with your professor. If he or she rejects them, ask why and take detailed notes on the response. Often, professors will not have a reason as to why a particular alternative is unsuitable. Not only do alternatives to dissection not contribute to the cruelty caused by using animals, they’re more cost- and time-efficient, and they teach just as well as (if not better than) animal dissections.
Make it clear that observing other students while they dissect an animal isn’t an acceptable alternative—it’s indirect participation in the dissection.Your objection is not to the content of the lesson, but to the way that the lesson is being taught. Keep copies of all correspondence and detailed notes of conversations; take notes during any meetings.
Offer to research the alternatives to find those that satisfy the objectives of the course. Show that you’re willing to spend an equivalent amount of time and effort learning the lesson by using a humane alternative. We are happy to help you with this too.
Never give up! If your instructor isn’t receptive to your concerns, proceed up the chain of command: Write to the principal, the superintendent, even the whole school board if necessary. Provide copies of all correspondence to every school official you meet with.
If school officials still think that they can violate your rights, contact the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). In the U.K., contact the Animal Aid Youth Group. The ALDF or Animal Aid may be able to put you in touch with an attorney in your area who can help. These cases can often be settled with just a phone call from an attorney.
Once you get your class to offer a dissection choice policy, submit a report for points with all the details!