Where Do Frogs Used for Dissection Come From?
Imagine for a second being kidnapped from your home. You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled about that, would you? Well, every year, millions of frogs are stolen from their homes in the wild, transported across long distances, killed, and pumped full of embalming chemicals (chemicals used to preserve their dead bodies) so they can be used for classroom dissection. Some are even used in classroom biology experiments while they’re still ALIVE.
Sadly, frogs are the most commonly dissected animals in classes below the university level, although other species, like cats, mice, rats, dogs, rabbits, fetal pigs, and fish, are also sometimes used. Frogs are also among the first species to succumb to environmental pollution and habitat destruction, and their deaths are often the first indicators of environmental problems because they’re so sensitive to their surroundings.
All species of frogs are disappearing from the Earth at an alarming rate, with a devastating and not yet fully understood environmental impact. As a result, some frog populations have crashed, wiping out entire species. Populations of grass frogs and bullfrogs, the most common victims of high school dissection, are threatened by both mass collection and environmental hazards.
The U.S. Department of the Interior has stated that declines in amphibian populations can be attributed in part to the use of amphibians in dissection.
“I know of several biological supply houses in Louisiana and Mississippi which are notorious for finding a pond and collecting every living thing to be found within it … many of our states’ ponds and bogs are devoid of herpetofauna because of this practice.”
—Dez R. Crawford, herpetologist
Not only is stealing frogs from their homes and killing them cruel, the removal of frogs from ecosystems also disrupts nature’s delicate balance—populations of waterborne insects skyrocket, resulting in increased crop destruction and the spread of diseases such as malaria. Basically, frogs help protect you from mosquito bites by keeping the bug population in check!
There are lots of modern, educationally superior alternatives to dissection, and they can even help schools save money. Instead of buying dead animals year after year for class after class, schools can purchase a computer program once and then use it repeatedly. Non-animal methods also allow students to repeat the material until they’re confident with it, instead of just getting one shot to make the right cut.
Frogs can feel pain and fear, just as humans can, and they DON’T want to be stolen from their homes to be killed any more than you would. You can HELP frogs by saying NO to dissection and urging others to do the same!