Humane Education

Choosing NOT to Harm Animals in the Classroom

For many students, harming animals for educational purposes is a violation of deeply held principles and ethics. The students have a right not to be forced to violate their beliefs in order to receive a quality education. They are entitled, and should be encouraged to speak up when asked to do something that violates their ethics.

In some cases, students are protected by state laws or student choice policies that give them the option to choose a humane alternative to harmful animal use. Sometimes, however, the student is not always aware that these laws or policies exist. It is important that students know that they have a number of humane alternatives available to them, and that every year countless students are educated at top schools and universities without dissecting or harming animals.

Animalearn assists students who do not want to dissect or vivisect. and need help. Animalearn frequently works with students and educators in grades K-12, college, and university who are working to establish student choice laws or policies that give students the right to choose an alternative to dissection and vivisection. If you are working to establish a student choice law or policy in your school, university, or state, Animalearn can help. Contact Animalearn at or (800)729-2287.

Dissection is Not Necessary

The American Medical Association does not recommend dissection as part of curriculum for medical school education. Additionally, many of the most prestigious medical schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford no longer use live animals to teach future doctors. Instead, they use modern technology and human cadavers, which are the most applicable way to learn human anatomy.

Many veterinary schools such as Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and Western Health Sciences University College of Veterinary Medicine have found ways to incorporate compassionate and respectful ways to obtain cadavers for anatomy lessons and teach surgical skills without terminating animals' lives. For example, they have developed Educational Memorial Programs (EMPs) in their hospitals in which clients can donate their deceased companion animal from whom students will learn.

Students can develop an understanding of anatomy, their manual and cognitive skills, and the necessary confidence for a successful surgery by using models. When their skills improve, they can then observe and assist a licensed veterinary surgeon in the operating room until they are ready to act as the primary surgeon under supervision.
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