The Lowdown on Dissection

Millions of animals are killed and dissected in schools each year.

Today, many students protest and educators question the destruction of life in the name of education. People are concerned not only about taking the life of innocent animals, but also about the pain and suffering that animals usually experience on the way to the dissection table.

Dissection Hurts Animals

Animals used in the dissection industry suffer terribly before they reach the classroom. PETA’s undercover investigation of one major biological supply company exposed gross cruelty to live animals who were received and killed at the facility—even after facility officials stated that no live animals were accepted there. Because of the video footage from the investigation, veterinarians from the U.S. Department of Agriculture testified that the company pumped formaldehyde into cats while they were still alive.

Whose Cat Are You Dissecting?

Here in the U.S., some animals are raised specifically for dissection, while others are purchased from fur farmers and factory farmers, supporting both of those horrific industries. Still others are collected by people called “bunchers,” who answer free-to-a-good-home ads and pick up stray animals and companion animals who have wandered off. They have even been known to steal animals from people’s yards.

It’s no different in the U.K. where many schools refuse to rear or kill the animals themselves, obtaining them from specialist suppliers instead. The breeding and killing of animals at the hands of these suppliers causes the animals unbearable stress and suffering. They’re usually raised in overcrowded, barren cages—and their deaths are equally horrific. In the U.K., methods of killing include the use of chloroform or ether, dislocation of the neck, suffocation with carbon dioxide, stunning, and freezing.

The Following Incidents of Cruelty Are Not Isolated

In 1994 and 1995, animal welfare investigators uncovered cases of cruelty to animals in which cats from Mexico were being killed and trucked to the U.S. to be sold to schools for dissection. Tucson company Southwestern Scientific was one of the U.S. importers of these cats, who were being rounded up by poor street children, who were paid $1 for every cat they caught back in 1994. The cats were then stuffed into a bag, which was plunged into a barrel of water until the animals were dead. In 1995, authorities who raided a chicken farm in Monterrey, Mexico, found the carcasses of 800 cats who had been killed for U.S. laboratory research.

Dissection Hurts Students

Animals used for dissection are often embalmed with formaldehyde or a chemical derived from formaldehyde, a preservative linked to cancers of the throat, lungs, and nasal passages, as well as a variety of other health problems.

Dissection Destroys The Environment

Frogs are the most commonly dissected animals. The removal of frogs from ecosystems disrupts nature’s delicate balance. Populations of insects skyrocket, resulting in increased crop destruction, pesticide use, and spread of disease.

In addition, the way animal corpses and toxic chemicals are disposed of in some schools and supply houses is of public concern. Careless disposal of toxic substances can contaminate groundwater and soil, threaten food supplies, and endanger wildlife.

The Bottom Line

It is not ethical to dissect animals (frogs, cats, dogs, sharks, worms, etc.) who have been tortured and killed so that students can cut them up to learn about human anatomy. These animals haven’t donated their bodies to science, and whether they were “bred for dissection” or “stray” or “going to be killed anyway,” they still have the ability to feel pain and fear.



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  • 1339 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]


    This is horrible! Im shaking. I cant believe how cruel & heartless ppl can b 2 poor helpless animals! Computer simulated dissection is just as good so y not use it & stop the torturing of these poor creatures!