Dissection Alternatives

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Dissection Alternatives

Dissection in science classrooms is an experience that almost every student has to go through, but one that many will regret. It is estimated that six million vertebrate animals are dissected in high schools each year, and another 5.7 million are used in college laboratories. The issue of educational dissection has become a national concern. Many groups such as PETA and The Humane Society have been lobbying for years to outlaw such practices, and implement new and safe dissection alternatives. Alternatives to dissection have become more popular in recent decades and may be the future of modern science and education.

A dissection alternative is defined as an educational aid or teaching approach that replaces harmful animal use or compliments existing humane education. There are many types of alternatives available such as videos, CD-ROM activities, models, simulators, books, and interactive websites. The most commonly dissected vertebrate animals are fetal pigs, cats, and frogs, and therefore there are many alternatives available for these three animals. However, there are also alternatives for other animals such as sharks, rabbits, mice, snakes, minks, turtles, crayfish, clams, earthworms, starfish, and squid. Such alternatives are usually produced by educational companies or biological suppliers for student and teacher use. Science Works, Scholastic, Neotek, and Ventura Education Systems are a few examples of companies that make dissection alternatives for classroom use.

Educational dissection first received national attention in 1987 when a young girl named Jennifer Graham took a stand against it. She filed a lawsuit against her California High School because they demanded that she participate i...

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...ts and teachers with free up to date dissection alternatives for middle school, high school, and college levels. The only cost is return postage, and anyone is eligible to obtain the materials. Another great program is the Educational Memorial Program. This is when animals are donated to veterinary schools when they have been euthanized because of a terminal illness, or died of natural causes. Such universities as Tufts University School of Medicine and Western Health Sciences University only use donated animal cadavers.

For many years dissection has been considered a widely used and acceptable form of scientific learning. Now, in the twenty first century, students are rebelling against such inhumane procedures. Because of the benefits to teachers, students, and school administrators, it is likely that dissection alternatives will be the future of modern science.

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