What are the pros and cons of animal dissections in schools?

1 Answer
Aug 1, 2016

Some positives are that they give a sensory factor that visual study can't provide and that most students don't complain about it. However, it may desensitize some students and possibly even traumatize them.


This post covers what I'm going to talk about and goes over some other points, so if you want to check it out, feel free to do that.

A pro of animal dissection is that they give a sensory factor and hands-on experience that most visual learning can't. Most humans remember things that they can touch and interact with. Animal dissections are an excellent example of this, and they give a better learning experience that can help them in future classes.

Additionally, the USDA is required to inspect all biological supply companies. Sanitation and other care issues are addressed in the inspections, which are regular and expected by these companies.

Another positive is that most students are fine with it. They're aware of the requirements and don't complain about it. In addition, many classes have debate-style conversations to see if dissection is appropriate for the class.

Let's now move onto the cons. The first con is that a ton of animals are used for dissection. For example around 6 million frogs are dissected every year in the US alone. In addition, 6,000 dogs, 2,700 cats and 7,500 chimpanzees were used. This can desensitize students from the concepts of animal testing as there are animals that are born purely for experimentation.

The second downside is pretty obvious: some kids aren't going to like it and might even be traumatized by it. This traumatization could prevent certain individuals from pursuing a science-oriented career any further. Dissection may be necessary for veterinary services, and dissections might not help with following that career path.

Another con is that it might desensitize participants. The act of cutting a dead animal might desensitize them to the point that they view cutting into live animals as acceptable as well. It could also cause them to show less care for animals, leading to neglect, abuse and cruelty.