Each year in the U.S., an estimated 20 million animals—including mice, rats, cats, worms, frogs, rabbits, pigs, dogs, sheep, and fish—are used in cruel, outdated teaching exercises. Roughly half of them are killed and used for dissection; others are tormented while they're still alive in classroom biology experiments, psychology labs, and medical training.
These animals come from factory farms, biological supply companies that breed animals, or animal shelters—or they may have been kidnapped from their homes in the wild.
The tragedy of these animals' deaths is magnified by the fact that humane, non-animal learning methods, like sophisticated computer software, are available and have been shown to teach anatomy and complex biological processes as well as—or better than—cruel, archaic, and environmentally destructive animal labs, while instilling in students respect for animals' lives.
At least 6 million vertebrate animals and approximately 6 million invertebrate animals are used for classroom dissection exercises annually in the U.S. PETA's investigations into biological supply companies, which sell animal bodies and parts, have uncovered acts of cruelty to animals, including the drowning of rabbits and the embalming of cats while they were still alive.
Biological supply houses breed animals like mice, rats, and rabbits; obtain fetal pigs from slaughterhouses that cut them from their mothers' bodies after they're killed; and trap or take other types of animals from a variety of locations.
For example, millions of frogs are captured in their natural habitats every year for dissection and experimentation, and the U.S. Department of the Interior has even stated that amphibian population declines are due in part to the use of these animals in dissection. Other animals, like the cats commonly dissected in biology courses, are obtained from animal shelters, pet stores, backyards, and the streets of the U.S. and Mexico.
Not only is animal dissection cruel, it's also outdated and inferior to more modern learning methods.
In addition to the millions of animals used in dissection, millions of live mice, rabbits, rats, turtles, and other animals are tortured and killed in college- and university-level biology and psychology demonstrations. Turtles are smashed over the head with hammers and have holes drilled into their shells so that their hearts can be viewed and manipulated. Frogs' brains are destroyed when pins are stuck through their skulls so that students can cut them open and stimulate their exposed muscles with electricity. Mice, rabbits, and rats are also subjected to highly invasive, painful, and otherwise harmful procedures at the hands of students and professors, including electric shock, surgically induced brain damage, drug addiction, starvation, maternal deprivation, and more.
While there was a time when dissection and the use of live animals in the classroom went unchallenged, today's students are ready, willing, and able to stand up for animals and work with PETA to use humane non-animal methods that are not only more effective but also readily available.
To learn more about alternatives to dissection, go here.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.