The Shocking Truth About Where Animals Used for Dissection Come From

So you see animal dissection on your high school agenda and you’re (rightfully) horrified at the prospect of cutting into an animal—but your teacher says, “It’s OK. They’re already dead.” Well, wtf does that mean? Animals aren’t just dying all over the ground for us to come and collect.  

Animals are killed FOR dissection, and it’s big business. 

MILLIONS of animals are still being dissected in schools every year—big yikes. 😬 Frogs, cats, dogs, pigs, mice, rabbits, fish, worms, and insects are snatched from their homes in nature or purchased from animal dealers, breeding facilities, or slaughterhouses so that they can be killed and dissected. Cats who end up on dissection trays sometimes come from animal shelters—meaning they could have been someone’s lost best friend. It’s terrible.

Here’s where animals used for dissection really come from:  


Fetal pigs used for dissection are cut from the bodies of their mothers, who are killed in slaughterhouses so people can eat their flesh. At slaughterhouses, improper stunning is a common occurrence, meaning that many pigs reach the vats of scalding-hot water—which are intended to soften their skin and remove their hair—while they’re still conscious!  

Breeding Warehouses 

The rabbits, mice, rats, and other small animals used for dissection are nothing more than dollar signs to the companies that breed them and then sell their corpses. PETA investigators documented cases in which animals were removed from gas chambers and injected with formaldehyde without first being checked for vital signs, a violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Formaldehyde is a severely irritating caustic substance that likely causes a painful death. 

Animal Shelters

Cats who are dissected in schools may be previously lost, stray, or homeless animals. Imagine losing your best friend and then seeing them on a dissection tray.  


Frogs, turtles, and other animals are either bred in facilities to be sold to the dissection industry or are removed from their homes in nature—disrupting delicate ecosystems. As a result, some frog populations have been destroyed, wiping out entire species. Fish, sharks, and other aquatic animals are often caught as “bycatch” by the fishing industry and are then sold to biological supply companies. 

Fur Farms 

Minks and other wild animals raised for their fur are usually kept in small cages until they’re gassed, electrocuted, or poisoned and then skinned. Their bodies are then embalmed (injected with chemicals to be preserved) and sold to biological supply companies before being shipped to schools. Animals used for fur are often skinned while still alive. An undercover investigation found that many were skinned while their hearts were still beating.


Every single cat, frog, pig, rat, rabbit, or other animal who ends up on a dissection tray was once alive. And NONE of them wanted to die so that a student could cut apart their corpse. If you and other students choose not to dissect animals, you’ll help prevent them from being killed. 

The Good News  

There are lots of modern, educationally superior non-animal methods of dissection that save animals and are better for students! And we can help you opt out of animal dissection and even campaign to get it banned in your school. Need help getting started? E-mail us at [email protected]

Text peta2 to 30933 for ways to help animals, tips on compassionate living, and more!

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