A recent study by Lakehead University researcher Jan Oakley highlights the need for clear dissection opt-out policies for secondary school students in Ontario. Students are often pressured into participation in dissection despite the availability of humane alternatives. Humane alternatives have been demonstrated to be as good as, or even superior to, traditional pedagogies using animals.
Here is an abstract of the paper:
This paper highlights the voices and experiences of individuals who objected to animal dissection in their high school science and biology classes. The data were collected via online surveys (n = 311), and 8 of these participants took part in more in-depth telephone interviews. Participants were former students from Ontario, Canada, who discussed their experiences with animal dissection in general, and objection to dissection in particular, if applicable. The findings reveal that students who expressed objection to dissection experienced a range of teacher responses, including pressure to participate, the request to join another group of students and watch, the choice to use a dissection alternative, warnings of compromised grades, and other responses. The study points to the importance of choice policies to ensure that dissection alternatives are available in classrooms. In this way, students can select among different options of how they would like to learn, and teachers can be prepared to accommodate those who choose not to dissect.
Citation: Oakley, J. (2013). “I Didn’t Feel Right About Animal Dissection:” Dissection Objectors Share Their Science Class Experiences. Society & Animals, 21, 360-378