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Dissection Alternatives

Dissection isn’t necessary.

Students can develop their understanding of anatomy, their manual and cognitive skills, and their confidence using physical and virtual models, videos, books, and activity sets.

In fact, the American Medical Association does not recommend dissection as part of curriculum for medical school education. Many of the most prestigious medical schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford no longer use live animals to teach future doctors. Instead, they use modern technology and human cadavers, which are the most applicable way to learn human anatomy.

In addition, many veterinary schools such as Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and Western Health Sciences University College of Veterinary Medicine have found ways to incorporate compassionate and respectful ways to obtain cadavers for anatomy lessons and teach surgical skills without terminating animals’ lives. For example, they have developed Educational Memorial Programs (EMPs) in their hospitals in which clients can donate their deceased companion animal from whom students will learn.

Animalearn is AAVS’s education department. Through outreach, on-site presentations, and its lending system, The Science Bank, Animalearn provides free, effective humane education alternatives to educators, students, and institutions.

Learn more about humane education alternatives, dissection choice, and what you can do to help animals while you learn or teach, please visit

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