MILLIONS of animals are still being dissected in schools every year. What the heck?!  Frogs, cats, dogs, pigs, mice, rabbits, fish, worms, and insects are snatched from the wild or come from animal dealers, breeding facilities, slaughterhouses, pet stores, animal shelters—so they can be cut up and dissected.

Animals used for dissection are killed specifically to be cut up in classrooms. Don’t be fooled—this is where animals used for dissection really come from:


Fetal pigs used in dissection are cut from the bodies of their mothers, who are killed in slaughterhouses so people can eat their flesh. At the slaughterhouse, improper stunning means 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! A PETA investigation found that workers at an Oklahoma farm were killing pigs by slamming their heads against the floor and beating them with a hammer.

pigBreeding facilities

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 Animal Welfare Act. Formaldehyde is a severely irritating caustic substance that likely causes a painful death.

rats for dissection

Left: Rat | Charles J. Danoff | CC BY 2.0 

Animal shelters and “pound seizures”

Homeless, lost, or abandoned animals are often collected from animal shelters, injected with formaldehyde, and vacuum-sealed into plastic bags for dissection. Animal shelters in most states are allowed to sell homeless dogs and cats to facilities for dissection or experimentation, and in two states—Minnesota and Oklahoma—shelters are required to turn over animals to laboratories upon request. This practice is commonly known as “pound seizure.

catThe wild

After being trapped in the wild, live turtles are shipped to biological supply companies in burlap sacks labeled “seafood.” There, they are warehoused in severely crowded concrete ponds or stacked 10 to 15 feet deep in aluminum tubs and hosed off once a month or so. Turtles are often smashed on the head with hammers and have holes drilled into their shells so that their hearts can be viewed and manipulated. And every year, millions of frogs are taken from the wild for dissection and other uses. As a result, some frog populations have been decimated, wiping out entire species. Frogs’ brains are sometimes destroyed when pins are stuck through their skulls so that students can cut them open and stimulate their exposed muscles with electricity.


Left: / Karen Barefoot 

Fur farms

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

Fur-bearing animals stolen from the wild also suffer when they’re caught in steel-jaw traps. Trapped mothers desperate to return to their young will often chew or twist off their own legs in order to free themselves. Those who can’t get free often suffer for days without any food or water before trappers return and strangle, stomp on, or bludgeon them to death.


Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals  

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 you could cut apart their corpse. If you and others like you choose not to dissect, millions of animals won’t be killed, period. There’s no other way to say it: Dissection kills!

Will their blood be on your hands? By asking for a cruelty-free assignment, instead of dissection, you’ll be reducing the demand for these animals’ corpses as well as animal suffering. Just say no to dissection.

Learn how you can say NO to dissection!

Dissection Kills