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The HSUS Urges Conn. Senators to Allow Students to Opt Out of Animal Dissection

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection group, urges Connecticut state senators to vote "yes" on House Bill 6565. The HSUS applauds members of the Connecticut House of Representatives for voting to approve the bill on April 22.

H.B. 6565, introduced by the Education Committee, allows students to opt out of participating in the dissection of any animal as part of classroom instruction.

"Some students find the practice of animal dissection objectionable," said Martin L. Stephens, Ph.D., vice president for animal research issues for The HSUS. "Legislation such as H.B. 6565 would allow these students to learn anatomy through other means, rather than be forced to violate their consciences or drop the class."

The HSUS offers a variety of resources to teachers and students through its Humane Education Loan Program, or HELP. HELP is a free program that lends CD-ROMs, videos, models and charts to schools for a variety of species. The HSUS also has published The Use of Animals in Higher Education: Problems, Alternatives and Recommendations, which explores the ethical issues surrounding the procurement of animals for dissection, evaluates the impact of dissection on students and makes policy recommendations. The 113-page book, a Dissection Campaign Packet and other useful information can be downloaded free at humanesociety.org.


  • Currently 15 states have laws or policies allowing students to perform alternatives to dissection, including California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
  • Millions of vertebrate animals are dissected yearly in U.S. high schools, with an additional, unknown number used in colleges and middle and elementary schools. The number of invertebrate animals dissected is probably comparable to that of vertebrates.
  • Animals suffer during capture, handling, transport and killing for dissection. Documented examples include: cats purchased on streets in Mexico, killed by drowning or having their throats slit, then shipped to the U.S. for distribution; live frogs piled into cloth bags for days or weeks; bullfrogs dying and rotting in transport containers; warehoused turtles crowded into filthy holding tanks, with bacterial infections rampant, and many died.
  • Many published articles attest to the fact that students using humane alternatives learn equally well or better than students dissecting/vivisecting animals.


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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