Choose humane science this new school year for superior and ethical learning

Every year, countless animals are dissected in classrooms across Australia. Yet, no state education department in Australia has made dissection compulsory. Dissection is also not an essential preparation for students who will study medicine or veterinary science, and students are entitled to submit a conscientious objection without penalty.

Despite this, as a new academic year commences, students may find themselves asked to dissect a preserved animal specimen in biology class at high school. HRA is here to help promote the uptake of humane science and education and support freedom of choice, with our campaign resource Say No to Dissection.

Schools should offer a choice. Student choice policies provide all students with the chance to enjoy science and express their enthusiasm for biology and other science subject’s, whatever their ethical beliefs. They permit students to choose study methods that do not involve the harming or killing of animals. For more information and a sample policy, read here.

To support the stance of students deciding not to dissect, as well as teachers selecting humane alternatives, HRA has updated our Humane Education Loan Program, which aims to provide educators and students with up- to- date alternatives to animal use in teaching. We have a limited range of alternatives available on loan, but be aware that alternatively there are many great free and low-cost resources available. Have a look at the Froguts app, which allow users to virtually dissect a bullfrog, a cow eye, a starfish, a fetal pig, an owl pellet, all for free. Froggipedia is a low-cost app which helps explore and discover the unique life cycle and intricate anatomical details of a frog. These and many more amazing digital resources are linked to here.

The field of alternatives to harmful animal use in education is evolving and research has confirmed that this is to the benefit of learning outcomes, as well as ethics, cost and the environment. Researchers have analysed 50 relevant studies and established that in 90% of studies, humane teaching methods were as or more effective than harmful animal use in achieving desired learning outcomes. There really is no justification for dissection. 

Watch a video on the efficacy of alternatives to educational animal use here.

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