School Dissections of Animals


New Member
I wasn't really sure whether to put this here or in Politics/Religion/etc, but I suppose it's science related more than anything.

Anyways, I was wondering what people thought of school dissections of animals, seeing as most members of this community are otherkin/therian? I'm curious about opinions on school dissections in particular, since students oftentimes don't have a choice in the matter. I know a lot of people feel strongly about it outside of the community, but I don't think I've ever seen a discussion on an otherkin forum.

I personally live in an area with laws mandating alternate assignments for students who object to dissections, so I always either watched or took an alternate assignment depending on whether actual participation in dissections was required.
From my personal perspective, before knowing about otherkinity I still had this thought, I'd prefer

animal dissection to not be a thing, and instead perhaps have physical models instead of using

once-living things to cut open. The only reason why I don't ever discuss about this topic mainly

is because some people feel as if they have better experience by dissecting creatures. I mean, I

would never do it myself however as long as the animal was respectfully killed/put ''to sleep'',

then I don't see this as a huge issue.. Just morally it seems weird to me-- not judging those however

who feel otherwise.


Floppy floppy noodle dragon of the sea
I think that dissection is... well it's a decent idea, rather educational. Usually the frogs, mice, rats, or whatever that is being dissected, is usually bred for the purpose of dissecting. It's a bit cruel and I'm not necessarily a fan of dissecting animals, but the knowledge that can be gained through it is worth the sacrifice in my opinion. In all of the dissections that I had to do for my science classes, nothing went to waste. We made sure that the leftover bits would be buried beneath a tree or a bush to serve as nutrients, and that was that.

So my opinion on them. I think that we should probably read about dissections rather than repeatedly performing them, but as it stands it's a necessary evil.

Velvet Wings

Feline of the Root
This isn't something my school ever did.

On one hand I'm against it for the needless killing of creatures, on the other I would have been quite fascinated to actually dissect something myself. Of course there are other ways to teach this which save on creature lives (which we never did either, my schooling was fairly lacking in biology).


Confused Vampiric Kitten
I don't believe in killing animals for any purpose at all. I have failed classes due to the fact that I refused to participate in the dissections.
Catwan said:
I don't believe in killing animals for any purpose at all. I have failed classes due to the fact that I refused to participate in the dissections.
Wait, they seriously dropped your grade just because you didn't want to partake in dissecting? Are people

aware how that can be bothersome/triggering for some people?
@Catwan[/URL] , that's pretty awful.

For me, the smell was a problem. Because of my interest in animals, I was more than happy to get through most of the setup and beginning of the dissection freshman year, and took great interest in it. However, past that, I was just too sensitive to function. I sat outside for the rest of class.

I can see educational value when it's done right. For instance, if an animal which was already dead was preserved and obtained, and the purpose of the activity was to show the cause of death, that's good, or if the animal has just died and the body is being used for educational purposes. However, I think a lot of it goes back to my personal opinion that the public school system as a whole is bullspit, hasn't been changed since the industrial age, and needs to be completely reworked. There needs to be more room for students to discover their interests and pursue them, like internships senior year, elective English and science classes (as in, you choose to study something like monsters in literature, and get your English credit that way), and other things like it.

If people don't have an interest in biology, they'll probably hate doing dissections. They'll also hate being forced to take the course, more likely than not. Therefore, it has little to no educational value for them, and is a waste of time.
Skylark said:
I'm not sure "triggering" is the right word here...
Except it can be triggering for people, and also if it's not triggering to someone but

they're bothered by it than it's bothersome. Kind of why I put a slash there lol..


Alien Equitaur
I have done a number of dissections on horse limbs in order to better understand the anatomy and function of the various parts of the foot (I am a farrier, or horse shoer) and it has drastically improved my trimming technique, as I now know what the inside looks like and how they function. The horses that were dissected had been humanely euthanized due to injury or illness. I feel that it is one last opportunity for that animal to help it's species.

I think dissections are vital for those that work in the medical field as they give you a much deeper understanding of the body. Even for high school and college students, it is good to know how the body is put together. I'm not crazy about animals been bred specifically for dissection, but it would be hypocritical to complain about that and then go eat meat. I would much rather an animal be killed in order to educate that be killed to adorn someone's wall.


New Member
I've been home schooled since I was about 7-ish and my Mom did purchase a frog from Carolina Biological to dissect a few years ago.

Did I participate? Yes.

Did I do so happily? Not really.

I'm vegan and my opinions on dissection vary a little no matter how hypocritical that sounds. If the animal died naturally or had to be put down fine, that's understandable and I don't have an issue with it. I don't like when animals are farmed exclusively for the purpose though.

This bit is slightly unrelated but does tie in so feel free to skip:

I recently came across wolf fur (it was not specified the subspecies) for sale and even though it was 'humanely sourced' it made my stomach churn. If it was rabbit or even horse (I have a soft spot for equines) it would not have bothered me as much but in this case it just...felt weird to me because of my theriotype.

Which brings up back to the point at hand; certain animals, regardless of cause of if they were sourced humanely, I would not be able to bring myself to dissect. I'd be sick.
In Aus we don't do whole animal dissections in high school. In the last three years (10, 11, and 12) we dissected individual organs, such as sheep liver, kidney, and eyes, which I believe were sourced from a local butcher.

I don't think animal dissections are necessary for high school students. When I first learned that this was something that American students did, I was horrified. Unless you're going into a field that requires extensive knowledge of biology and anatomy (which only represents a small fraction of students), it has absolutely no use. Even if your chosen field does require such knowledge, dissecting rats and frogs and such still has minimal benefits.


Doodle Dragon
If I ever have a pet and I have to have them brought to a veterinarian for surgery, I know that I would want that vet to have knowledge of what the inside of my pet is going to look like from first hand experience. I understand how important dissections can be for people going into the medical fields who will, you know, actually be cutting up animals and humans. I agree that there should lawfully be alternative assignments.

When I was in 7th grade, there was an optional frog dissection. As a lover of frogs (though I had seen their guts spilled open on the asphalt many a times) I was morally opposed to the idea at the time. I was not put into a mandatory dissection situation until college. I am an art student. I could have reasonably argued that I did not need to know where a rat's small intestine is located, but I went through with it anyway, because I just didn't have a strong opinion about it anymore.
Back when I was in AP Biology, we had to do a multitude of disections on various animals to learn about the physiology of different invertebrates and tetrapods.

I had no problems doing it, though I did feel a bit bad dissecting the Pidgeon due to a personal love of Birds, but ultimately I had no real issues. I found it interesting to see the various cognate biological structures in Tetrapods of various subclasses with my own eyes.


Fuzzy Mirror
While I was at high school, nobody did any kind of dissection at class, as homework, or as part of an assignment. Science classes were done with the texts and diagrams that comes in didactic books, and playing (using a multimedia projector) some dissection and/or vivisection (surgeries) videos found in the internet as a way to show details from anatomy that can't be shown that easily only via diagrams and texts.

If I had to do a dissection in a dead animal today, I don't know how I would react; but vivisection isn't for me.

As I'm in a college course in the field of computation (Information Systems), dissecting dead animals seems to me very distant from the area I chose.
I did the dissection class before. It was a frog.

You know, I looked at it this way and still do, the animal is going to die, it should at LEAST have a purpose if killed such a meat, skin, etc.

For these animals, it's for education. Is it wrong? the choices may vary. But if that frog or animals life can be used to show students things they might not have known of or thought of such as having the SAME organs or being so unique in such a cool way, then perhaps that life wasn't lost for ABSOLUTELY no reason.

It's sad don't get me wrong and if I was that creature I wouldn't think fondly of it at all. But when you're faced with how life is these days I guess perhaps we just try to make the best out of what little we can actually do to stop what is going on.


Active Member
They said we would dissect in school, frogs and elk heads but we never did any of that, I saw an elk head tho, they stored it in a black plastic bag and put it in the closet, I'm glad we never got to dissect any animals, I feel it's disgusting and it's a waste of another beings life.


We never got to do many dissections, or at least, not on a full animal. Mostly dissecting organs of sheep and cattle in Animal Anatomy and Physiology, and even then people had the option to opt out and do research instead. Perhaps it's a different rule here in the UK?

Personally it's never really bothered me, I'm not a squeamish person and experience in preparing/skinning/handling organs of chicks and rabbits for wild felids to eat has me used to the smells and all that. In the end I mean, we're all just big bags of meat and flesh.

That said I can understand people being upset over the idea of it being a dead animal, perhaps moreso if it is their own kintype in front of them. I know some people get upset about the fact it's been killed for this purpose. But in the end, it hasn't died for no reason, just because it's an idea you don't agree with, doesn't exempt it from being a reason. It's there for us to learn. One can see diagrams and pictures but actually being able to see the real thing is fascinating, albeit quite morbid.

But in places where there is no opt out, that's unfair. It's hard for me to understand, but I can see why people would be upset or even feel ill by the thought of doing it. Personally there should always be a choice

On the other hand, I do feel sickened when animals are specifically bred for this purpose. But then... think about it. Doesn't the same thing happen to get the meat on our plates? Those animals are also bred to be killed, nothing else. I feel as long as said animals are kept in good conditions and have a good experience of life (e.g. free range, good nutrition, plenty of space and interaction if applicable), there is no problem.

I do not however, agree with them being bred and trapped in awful conditions to fulfil any purpose. But that's another topic entirely.



Well-Known Member
My biology class was required to dissect fetal pigs. Now, they didn't breed and then abort piglets for the sole purpose of dissection -- that's not how this really works, at least not where I live. All of the piglets had died prenatal deaths, for one reason or another. Perhaps the mother pig died, perhaps they were stillborn, etc.

The anatomy class at my school (which I did not take) had to dissect cats -- again, they died of natural causes.

I see no reason to say that class dissections are wrong, per se, but perhaps the application of a major grade is? Because not everyone is cut out to look at dead things. Example being: med students have to dissect actual human corpses. If you have a major problem with that, you should probably not, you know, become a surgeon.

So tl;dr: Dissections themselves are not the problem, but the way high schools force kids to basically have no choice or do some awful alternate assignment as practically punishment instead is not okay.


Active Member
I fully and wholeheartedly support animal dissection for education, up to and including human dissection in medical school.

The world isn't nice, and if a surgeon has to cut on me, I really hope that surgeon knows what they're doing with both academic and practical experience, preferably a lot of it!


Alien Equitaur
@Grey, actually some of the greatest anatomists in history have been artists. George Stubbs, who was one of the greatest artists of horses to live did extensive anatomy studies.