Back in the day when science was fairly new, animal dissections were quite common. However, people soon learned that keeping up the practice of animal dissection in classrooms as a means of teaching students should be stopped.
Here are the reasons why:
As children, we were taught the value of life for every living thing; however, the practice of killing animals to be used as laboratory specimens says otherwise.
Psychological studies have shown that killing and dissecting animals has a negative impact on the psychological development of children.
The practice sends the signal that it is okay to kill and hurt others. It tends to promote animal cruelty and bullying behaviors, both of which are growing at an alarming rate among children particularly teenagers.
Exposure to Harmful Chemicals
The animals are generally preserved using formalin or formaldehyde. Formaldehyde in its purest form is a highly toxic poison to the system that can be well-absorbed by simple inhalation. It has been identified as a human carcinogen.
A severe reaction to formaldehyde can cause respiratory tract irritation. In some cases, it can also cause suffocation or dizziness while direct skin contact can cause severe skin burns. Another important thing to note is that formaldehyde cannot be completely eliminated through rinsing.
No Educational Value
What was once considered a valuable tool of education, actual animal dissection for modern learning have been shown to have no known educational value.
Studies show that students tend to veer away from animal dissection classes. Some even skip the entire class if they know that the activity of the day would involve some form of animal dissection.
The good news is that with modern day technology, learning institutions can now stop practicing actual animal dissections in their classrooms. These have also been proven to be a better learning tool.
A number of schools, including veterinary and medical schools, have resorted to teaching using virtual dissection models. There is now a wide array of virtual dissection software programs (and 3D models) that are available ranging from the most cost-effective to almost no cost.
Check out my Useful Tools section to see some of the software programs that have been widely used as dissection alternatives.