Dissecting animals is cruel and unnecessary for high school students


Juliana Desouza

Seniors Cassidy Cavanaugh and Savannah Andres dissect a rat in Anatomy and Physiology

Alaina Galasso, Editor-In-Chief

During almost every student’s middle and high school education they are forced to dissect some sort of animal. Usually it’s a frog or rat, but occasionally students have to cut open cats or teacup pigs. These dissections take place in mandatory classes, like middle school sciences or biology, in order to view the internal structure of these animals.

Primary and secondary science classes should take dissecting out of the curriculum.

Dissecting animals is an inhumane act. Prior to a human’s death, they get to say whether they would like to donate their body to science or not. Animals do not have this same right. Although this is something that cannot be changed, humans still shouldn’t take advantage by allowing younger students to disrespect the dead animal’s bodies. In addition to this, these animals are either euthanized, raised in poor conditions or taken from their natural habitats before becoming science labs. Millions of animals are dissected each year in high schools alone. If dissections were taken out of the curriculum, then these animals would have a better chance to  live their lives in peace in the wild.

Most students do not take dissections seriously, and instead see them as an opportunity to play around and taunt other students. Dissections are placed in the curriculum to provide students with hands on learning, but most students take advantage of this activity. With 20 or more students per class and only one teacher, it is difficult to monitor low-level maturity students and in result a lot of horseplay. Students take pictures with the bodies, prod and cut up organs without reason and chase one another with the animal’s remains. When this occurs, dissections do not fulfill their original purpose and instead become counterproductive.

Scientists have gotten the information they need out of dissections already. Animal dissections have been occurring since the 1920s, so it’s not like they are critical to discovery anymore. Dissections are, however, important to college students because they are good test to see if someone can stomach being a doctor or not. This step is not vital for high school students, because if a student is interested in medical studies then they will choose to pursue it later in life. Most high school dissections only interest one or two students in each class and disgust the rest. Students shouldn’t be forced to perform or even observe a dissection if they aren’t really interested in anatomical studies, so schools should not pressure students to do so for the sake of their grade in the class.

Many argue that dissections are required because there are no proper alternatives, but this is untrue. Today’s society has extremely advanced technology, and there are numerous detailed dissection simulations that could be used. Science teachers may claim that dissections are optional for students, but most curriculums have the grade weighted immensely in such a way that it is almost impossible for a student to sit out on the dissection and still get the A they want.

Animal dissections should be saved for more serious college-level courses instead of being mandatory in high school classes that everyone takes. Perhaps middle and high school curriculums could substitute real dissections for online ones, but overall dissections should be removed from primary and secondary school curriculums to respect and save more animals.