Dollars and Sense: Embracing Non-Animal Dissection as a Compassionate and Cost-Saving Approach to Science Education

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In the ever-evolving field of education, it’s crucial for schools to stay up to date on the needs and well-being of their students. As part of building a more inclusive and compassionate learning environment, it’s time to reevaluate teaching anatomy and biology. As an education professional, you have the power to shape the future of scientific learning at your school. By embracing humane alternatives to dissection, your school can create a more empathetic and student-centered science curriculum—and cut costs while you’re at it!

Promoting Emotional Well-Being

While some students may not mind animal dissection, for many others the experience is traumatic and may force them to violate personal morals.

As an educator, your responsibility extends beyond imparting knowledge to include respect for students’ personal beliefs and emotional well-being. By offering non-animal dissection options, schools can ensure that students have access to a learning experience that aligns with their values and minimizes emotional distress.

Embracing Cost Saving Innovations

Science is a field of constant innovation and discovery, yet the practice of animal dissection has remained largely unchanged for decades. It’s time to move on from outdated practices and embrace the opportunities presented by humane dissection tools.

These tools offer a range of benefits, including:

  • compatibility with online learning
  • no exposure to harmful and smelly chemicals
  • short-term and long-term cost savings

Evidence-Based Approach

Peer-reviewed research supports the effectiveness of non-animal dissection alternatives. A comprehensive analysis of 50 published articles (Zemanova, 2021) compared traditional animal specimen dissection to humane alternatives.

  • 60% of authors concluded there was no significant difference in student learning outcomes
  • 30% of authors found that alternatives provided a better learning experience for students

Some teachers fear that by cutting out dissection, student learning will suffer, but the science says that the opposite is true!

Teachers who have made the switch to non-animal dissection tools are amazed by how well students respond to humane anatomy labs. Michelle Ellis, a high school biology teacher, reported back on her student’s reaction to the non-animal learning tools by saying: “They loved it. Students got to have the dissection experience, there were no smells, no chemicals and no animals were harmed.”

Tracy Marinaro, a sixth grade science teacher, had a similar story of success to tell:“I was actually surprised how easy the models were to work with and how easily students were able to interact with the models.”

If cost is a prohibiting factor for your school, NAVS has you covered. We offer our BioLEAP Classroom Grant to teachers looking to purchase non-animal dissection tools for their students and will cover up to $1,000 of the cost.

Check out the 100+ dissection alternative tools featured in our catalog at and join the movement for humane science.