New Study: No Advantage to Animal Dissection Over Humane Science Education Methods


For Immediate Release:
September 29, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – Studies show that students who use non-animal methods (NAM) perform as well as, if not better than, peers who dissect animals, according to a newly published study coauthored by PETA and published in The American Biology Teacher, a leading, peer-reviewed science-education journal.

Co-written by PETA Science Education Manager Samantha Suiter, the systematic review analyzes studies published from 2005 to 2020 to determine whether students at all education levels learn more by dissecting animals than by using virtual software, clay modeling, or other NAMs. It determined that 95% of the studies showed students who used NAMs performed as well as or better than those who dissected animals and that the use of NAMs was more effective in 70% of the studies.

“Cutting open animals isn’t necessary in the classroom, and there are many superior and humane teaching tools,” says PETA Senior Director Rachelle Owen. “In light of this research, PETA is calling on teachers, schools, and other institutions to replace cruel and archaic dissection with modern, non-animal methods.”

Each year in the U.S., an estimated 10 million animals are killed for dissection. Many of them come from biological supply houses that sell cats who could have been someone’s lost or stolen companion, fetal piglets who are cut from the wombs of pigs killed in slaughterhouses, and frogs who are taken from their natural habitat—a practice that wreaks havoc on local ecosystems.

NAMs—such as eMind digital dissection software and SynFrog synthetic dissectible models—also cut costs, reduce waste, and assist with socially distanced and virtual learning. PETA’s humane education division, TeachKind, works with students to get dissection-choice policies enacted in schools, and the group helps thousands of students through donations of interactive dissection software.

TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” —opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Facebook or Instagram.

You would need a subscription or membership to the National Association of Biology Teachers to view the paper in its entirety, but the abstract is available here.


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