Dissection is the exploration of dead animals in the classroom to see what their internal parts look like and how they work.

Currently, there is no official record of how many animals are killed each year for primary or secondary schools in Canada. Animals most often used for dissection include frogs, cats, pigs, fish, rats and insects.

Animal ‘specimens’ can come from a variety of sources. Sometimes animals are bred in captivity or they can be captured in the wild. Animals used for dissection can also come from shelters. This practice is called “pound seizer”. 

After being sourced, animals are killed, preserved, packaged and often sold to schools through biological supply companies.

Years ago, most animal specimens were persevered with formaldehyde, a known cancer-causing chemical. Today, some biological supply companies use alternative chemical solutions, claiming them to non-toxic.

Destined For the Garbage Pail

All animal specimens are intended to be one-time use – disposable. At the end of the exercise, animals are simply tossed in the trash along with the disposable dissection tray, plastic storage bag, gloves, disposable aprons, and maybe some of the tools (if plastic).

This is animal cruelty and environmental waste we can stop. Alternatives exist.

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