For Students: What You Can Do

The Physicians Committee

For Students: What You Can Do

Make Your School Dissection Free

Eight tips for creating an animal-friendly classroom:

  • Ask your teacher if your class will be dissecting animals. Don’t wait until the last minute—find out as early as possible in the school year. If a dissection lab is planned, formulate your reasons for refusing to dissect animals. You’ll want to be able to explain clearly why you will not participate. Here are some points to consider.
  • Prepare a list of alternatives. There are many options, and several organizations will loan you these alternatives for free.
  • Tell your teacher that you do not want to dissect, and present your reasons and alternative options. It may be helpful to give your teacher these statements in writing as well.
  • If you feel uncomfortable talking to your teacher about dissection, voice your concerns to your parents. Explain why you object to dissection and discuss the alternatives, and they will be able to talk to your teacher for you.
  • Do not feel that you have to accept the option of watching other students dissect, as this is still a form of participation. You have the right to tell your teacher that you want an option that is completely animal-free.
  • Expect to be given the same tests as the other students, as long as no part of your test involves the use of animals.
  • Make sure that your grade will not be affected by refusing to dissect. If your teacher says that you will receive a lower grade, or if he or she refuses your request, take your concern to your principal or school board. In some states, schools are legally required to allow students to opt out of dissection. Check to see if you live in a state with a student choice law.
  • Encourage other students in your class to join you in refusing dissection. Voice your arguments against dissection to your school newspaper, student government, and any other student forum.

Spread the Word About Dissection Alternatives

  • Tell your friends that they don’t have to dissect. Many students feel uncomfortable with dissection but don’t realize that there are other options. Send a free e-card today > 
  • Write a letter to your school superintendent or the leader of the PTA or school board. As a student, your voice can have a powerful influence toward encouraging your school and others to stop harming animals. Sample letter >
  • Write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. Let him or her know that dissection is wrong and unnecessary, and that many great alternatives exist. Letter-writing tips >

Share Your Experience

Have you taken a stand against dissection? Refused to dissect? Influenced friends to do the same? Tell us about it. You could be featured on this Web site! Send your story to