California Schools Leading Race to Stop Dissections

Washington, DC—Seven California schools have accepted a challenge by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) to discontinue all animal dissections and lead the way to animal-friendly science education. Rancho Verde High School, Woodside School, Valley High School, Aviva High School, Amelia Earhart Middle School, Glendale Adventist Elementary, and Southwestern Academy are the first schools to commit to halting dissection programs for a minimum of five years and use dissection alternatives instead.

AWI has partnered with Digital Frog International to provide a full Digital Frog 2.5 (voted BEST dissection alternative by eSchool News readers) license to the first 25 schools that commit to end all animal dissections. The offer is open to all North American schools.

"I suspended the practice for two main reasons: 1) given our student population (special education) using sharp knives and pins was too dangerous; and 2) our students raised personal concerns about hurting animals," said Principal Sinead Coleman from Aviva High School. "I look forward to the opportunity to expose our students to a safe and humane way to learn about other living creatures."

Kevin Stipp, assistant principal at Rancho Verde, the first school to make the commitment, said, "With finances being the way they are, we felt that this was going to be a good opportunity. It's as much about the species as about saving cost." The school normally spends almost $7,000 on 30 frog kits to be shared between 1,225 biology students over a five year period. The Digital Frog 2.5 license, which the school is getting for free, costs under $900 and every student can dissect his/her own virtual frog.

Cats, frogs, fetal pigs, earthworms, rats, dogs, pigeons and turtles are just some of the many animals used in school dissection projects. Investigations have shown that the procurement of animals for dissection causes unnecessary suffering and death. Millions of frogs are inhumanely captured and killed by immersion in preservative. Frog populations are disappearing worldwide and the use of frogs for dissection is contributing to this decline.

"Studies have shown that virtual dissection is a more effective teaching tool than hands-on dissection," said AWI President Cathy Liss. "Through this challenge, we hope to encourage compassion and a respect for life, while providing students the opportunity to receive quality science education."

AWI and Digital Frog International support the Race to Stop Dissections, initiated by Save the Frogs!, and encourage other schools to join in. Visit

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