In this age of climate change and sweat shops, we’ve all started to think about the bigger picture and consequences of what and whom we eat as well as what we wear and purchase. But you’d never think that a classroom assignment would make it onto your list of tough ethical choices. Here’s who has to pay for your classroom dissection:

The Animal

photo | Dallas Krentzel | CC by 2.0 
This one’s a no-brainer. No animal wants to die, be pumped full of formaldehyde, stuffed into a plastic bag, and sent to a classroom to be cut open for a grade. No matter what species the animal is—a rat, frog, cat, or pig—he or she suffered and experienced a needless and untimely death. Before slaughter, that cat you’re dissecting may have come from an animal shelter, a pet store, or the streets of the U.S. or Mexico. He or she might have been an “outdoor cat” or even someone’s own feline companion who got lost. You just can’t know with certainty whether the cat had a family or how he or she died. 🙁 Read on …

The Environment

dissection isn't greenImagine being kidnapped, killed, and cut open. This is what happens to millions of frogs every year. Ever heard of the amphibian population decline? Well, the U.S. Department of the Interior states that classroom animal dissection takes part of the blame.


Nursing baby pigsIf you don’t know how f****d up factory farming is for a female animals, prepare yourself. Not only does the industry exploit the female reproductive system, it also has the audacity to call its cruel invention a “rape rack.” That’s right, farmers put female cows and pigs in rape racks and shove an arm inside them to artificially inseminate them. For classroom dissection, fetuses are literally cut out of a mother pig’s body after she’s been slaughtered. Her body and the bodies of her babies are sold for parts and distributed to grocery stores and high school classrooms.


Kip Kinkel killed his parents and opened fire in his school cafeteria, killing two and injuring 22 others. He had a history of animal abuse and torture, having boasted about killing animals.

Kip Kinkel killed his parents and opened fire in his school cafeteria, killing two and injuring 22 others. He had a history of animal abuse and torture, having boasted about killing animals.

Classroom dissection desensitizes students to gruesome violence. Studies suggest that exposing young people (that’s you) to animal dissection and calling it “science” can foster a callousness toward animals and nature and even turn students away from pursuing careers in science. Plus, research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit violent acts against animals rarely stop there—take notorious serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy for example.

Your Education

Let’s be real: What are you actually learning from cutting up a dead animal? When 98 percent of U.S. medical schools—including Yale, Harvard, and Stanford—don’t use animals to teach medical students, what on Earth do younger students have to gain from animal dissection? The future doctors of America are using simulations, lifelike models, and interactive computer programs to learn how to treat HUMAN patients. Wouldn’t you benefit more from having access to these high-tech, humane programs sooner rather than later? There’s an alternative for every assignment that your teacher might ask you to dissect an animal for. Check out how complex these alternatives can be!

Your School

dissection costs

Let’s pretend that animals are units of product. (Oh, wait, that’s exactly how the industry works.) It’s WAY more expensive to keep buying “unit” after unit for years vs. buying one batch of computer programs like Digital Frog 2.5. It’s best to keep this nugget of knowledge in your back pocket if you decide to ask your school to make the humane switch to dissection alternatives. Hint, hint: PETA will donate humane alternatives to any school that gives up dissection—just hit us up at [email protected].

Long story short: You can say NO to dissection!

The choice is yours. Find out if your state has dissection-choice policies, which give you the right to say NO to cutting up a dead animal.

dissection map choices

If your district is a little behind the times, no worries. We’ve got you covered: