Did you know that you DON’T have to dissect? In fact, 24 states now allow students to opt out of animal dissection for ethical reasons. Students can choose not to cut up animals in their science classes and to use humane teaching methods instead.


Animals used for dissection often come from breeding facilities or are caught in the wild. Some animal shelters sell cats to biological supply companies, which in turn sell them to schools for dissection. This means that the cats students are cutting up could have once been loved family members—much like the cat you might share your home with!


In addition to causing pain and suffering for animals, studies show that dissection doesn’t teach students the right lesson. Michigan is one of the latest states to enact a dissection-choice policy. The policy states, “The Michigan State Board of Education recognizes that a growing number of students have moral, ethical, religious, or other objections to animal dissection and that modern nonanimal teaching methods (e.g., interactive computer software) are available,” and that “[n]o student shall be punished or discriminated against based upon his or her decision to opt out of animal dissection activities.” Countless students, celebs, and animals couldn’t agree more!

pregnant rat dissection

Check out our map to find out if your state or school has a dissection-choice policy. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to take action!

Approaching your school’s administration about dissection can seem intimidating, but peta2 is here for you! We have tons of resources to help you get a dissection-choice policy at your school, including a sample letter to give to school officials and a printable petition  to gather support. Some school officials can be pretty out of touch with the newest technology and 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.

Dissection Kills

Remember: Always be polite! By asking your principal and teacher for an alternative to dissection, you’re asking them 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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