Dissection was introduced in the 1920’s. Since then, more sophisticated tools have been introduced which provide a better learning experience, cost less and don’t kill animals! Primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Argentina, Slovak Republic and Israel no longer carry out animal dissections.
With many high school students transitioning to online learning, biology lessons are looking very different. Fortunately, there are many online resources to replace the cruel and outdated practice of dissection, with equal, if not superior, learning outcomes.
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, Apple’s Top iPad app of 2018, is a low-cost app which helps explore and discover the unique life cycle and intricate anatomical details of a frog.
Steam Powered Family has virtual dissections and labs for students keen to progress their studies without any cost to animals.
SynDaver will host weekly, teacher-lead dissection lessons using their anatomical models, live streamed on Facebook Live, starting on March 31, with recordings available on their website. Similarly, the Animals in Science and Policy Institute is launching online anatomy classes, along with student workbooks. The Canadian time difference makes attending live problematic, but I am told pre-recorded lessons will be available soon.
Dissection teaches that animals are throwaway objects. It teaches a profound disrespect for the life it aims to study. Many smart and caring students decide not to pursue careers in medicine, or nursing when they find out they are supposed to dissect animals. Dissection may be turning students away from professions where they are needed the most. With so many resources available, this is the perfect opportunity for students and teachers to embrace humane education, during the school shutdown and beyond.