Dissection: Do You Have a Choice?

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Posted March 31, 2014 by Kim Johnson

After talks with PETA, the New Hampshire State Board of Education adopted a dissection-choice policy, making it the 21st state to allow students to opt out of animal dissection for ethical reasons. Students in the state will now be able to choose not to cut up animals in their science classes and to use modern teaching methods instead!


Frogs are the most commonly dissected animals below the university level. Other species used include cats, mice, rats, worms, dogs, rabbits, pigs, and fish.

Animals used for dissection come from breeding facilities, are caught in the wild, or are stolen or abandoned companion animals. Some animal shelters sell cats to biological supply companies, which in turn sell them to schools for dissection. A PETA undercover investigator at one of the nation’s largest suppliers of animals used for dissection was told by his supervisor that some of the cats killed there were companion animals who had “escaped” from their homes.

cats killed for classroom dissection

The New Hampshire policy states, “An activity in which living or dead animals are viewed, cut, killed, inspected, touched, handled, preserved, mounted, or otherwise manipulated in ways which may cause harm to them, is a potential source of ethical conflict or sensitivity that may adversely affect student learning.” Countless students, celebs, and animals couldn’t agree more!

If you live in New Hampshire, congrats! If you don’t, check out our map to find out if your state or school offers dissection choice. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to take action!

frogs killed for classroom dissection

Approaching your school’s administration about dissection can seem intimidating, but peta2 is there for you every step of the way. Some school officials can be pretty out of touch with the newest technology, and they may not even know that dissection is cruel or that there are alternatives that teach students more effectively, save schools money, and spare the lives of animals. peta2 has many resources to help you cut out dissection, such as a sample letter to give to school officials and a printable petition in order to gather support.

cut out dissection campaigns featured

Remember: Always be polite! By asking your principal or teacher for an alternative to dissection, you’ll be asking him or her to respect your opinion and your ethics. If school officials say no at first, don’t get mad—and don’t give up! E-mail us for help.


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  • Profile photo of Sarah14

    229 days ago

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]


    Okay so I am going to school to become a Registered Veterinary Technician. For my anatomy and physiology class, we are dissecting cats. I know dissection is wrong, but since I am planning on doing this as a career and not just to poke at the organs and never have to apply that knowledge ever again, does that make it somewhat okay? :/

  • Profile photo of learningvegan

    502 days ago

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]


    what are the 21 states? is massachusetts one?

    • Profile photo of CaseyRedd

      469 days ago

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]


      You have the choice not to dissect in Massachusetts :)

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