California School Cuts Out Animal Dissection With Help From PETA

Somerset High School Welcomes Modern Teaching Tools That Make Kindness a Part of Science Classes

For Immediate Release:
September 23, 2015

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Bellflower, Calif. – When Mark Johnson, a biology teacher at Somerset High School, wanted help replacing animal dissection in science classes with humane teaching tools, PETA rushed to answer his call.

PETA—through its national educational grants program—has donated the popular Digital Frog virtual-dissection software for use throughout the school. The program features modules on anatomy and ecology as well as an interactive frog dissection that uses “scalpels” and other tools. Students can compare different species side-by-side, watch animations of living frogs’ bodies, and learn about the sounds they make and where they live. Studies have repeatedly shown that interactive software such as Digital Frog has been shown to teach anatomy better than animal dissection.

“My students … are excited about our new virtual dissection program, Digital Frog 2.5!” says Johnson, who’s also a science department chairperson. “They like that there’s no bad smell and that so many animals haven’t been put to death just to learn about the body. I am also using this as a stepping stone to teach more about animal cruelty in science.”

“PETA’s donation will allow Somerset High School to modernize its curriculum and teach students to appreciate animals without harming them,” says PETA Director of Laboratory Investigations Justin Goodman. “By replacing animal dissection with high-tech teaching tools, the school will spare the lives of countless frogs, save money, and provide students with a more effective and humane learning experience.”

Somerset High School is the continuation school for the Bellflower Unified School District. It serves 320 students in grades 10th through 12th, ages 16 and older, with the aim of helping those who struggle with attendance or credits or face other challenges, such as teen parenthood, graduate. Unlike classroom animal dissections, Digital Frog accommodates different learning styles, allows students to be self-paced, and offers the flexibility to complete assignments at home.

The millions of animals used in school dissections come from biological supply houses, which breed animals or obtain them from animal shelters or the wild. The National Science Teachers Association endorses the use of modern non-animal methods as replacements for animal dissection. Ninety-eight percent of U.S. medical schools have also ended the use of animal laboratories for training medical students.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind