Earlier this year AiSPI received a Develop Grant from the Vancouver Foundation to conduct two surveys on the topic of school dissection: one went to BC science teachers, one went to the BC public. The results were surprising, but encouraging! Access the full report here, or see the highlights below:

Survey of Teachers

We surveyed 311 science teachers across BC to ask them about their dissection practices, and to get a better understanding of what support teachers might need to make the switch to non-animal alternatives. The survey was conducted from June 13-July 5 2017. Margin of error is 5.5%

Four in five teachers still do dissection as part of their science classes. The most commonly used species are frogs, rats and fetal pigs – though other species and animal body parts are used.

Up to 25% of students decide to opt out of doing dissection.

Almost half the teachers surveyed agreed that there should be written student choice policies to grant students the right to opt out of dissection.

Almost half the teachers surveyed would be wiling to use non-animal alternatives.

Teachers told us that lack of time to research suitable alternatives, their belief that alternatives don’t have the educational merit that traditional dissection does, and the cost of alternatives, are all barriers to adoption of non-animal alternatives for dissection.

Survey of the BC Public

We surveyed 803 adults in British Columbia to ask them about their views on dissection. The survey was conducted from May 31-June 4 2017. Margin of error was 35%

Members of the BC public were split on whether dissection should continue to be offered as part of science education in schools.

The vast majority of people surveyed agreed that school boards should have written student choice policies in place to gives students the right to opt out of dissection.

Overall, these results are encouraging. There is a clear willingness among teachers to adopt alternatives, and barriers presented are surmountable. Importantly, there is overwhelm ing public support (as well as support from teachers) for the adoption of student choice policies to grant students the right to opt out.

We’d like to thank all the participants who took part in these surveys, Insights West – the polling company we hoped to take on this important project – and Vancouver Foundation and Lush Cosmetics for providing funding.

We need your help to end the practice of dissection for good.

Please donate now to support this important work.