High School and Middle School Students

Laws and Legislation (K-12)

Dissection choice laws usually apply to kindergarten through high school, and allow students to refuse to participate in classroom exercises–particularly dissections–that harm animals. These laws usually require the school to notify students and/or their parents at the beginning of a course when animal dissection is part of its curriculum, and they are intended to allow students the right to choose humane alternatives, without being penalized for doing so. To date, no such law offers similar allowances to college and university students. Those enrolled in colleges or universities who do not wish to dissect should visit the section on Student Choice Policies.

Your State
Today there are 18 states (California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia) and Washington, DC, that have such state laws or policies for K-12 students.

If a K-12 student lives in a state that has a student choice law, then that student should legally be afforded the right to choose an alternative to dissection. If a student lives in a state that does not have a student choice law, then he or she may have some work to do in order to be able to use an alternative to dissection. Don't be discouraged, however, because many students who did not want to dissect, and live in states where there is no student choice law, won the right to choose an alternative to dissection with the help and guidance of their parents and/or guardians.

AL | AK | AZ | AR | CA | CO | CT | DE | DC | FL | GA | HI | ID | IL | IN | IA | KS | KY | LA | ME | MD | MA | MI | MN | MS | MO | MT | NE | NV | NH | NJ | NM | NY | NC | ND | OH | OK | OR | PA | RI | SC | SD | TN | TX | UT | VT | VA | WV | WI | WY

Alabama

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Alaska

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Arizona

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Arkansas

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

California

Education Code 32255

Pupil with moral obligation to dissection or otherwise harming or destroying animals; notice; alternative education project

(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 32255.6, any pupil with a moral objection to dissecting or otherwise harming or destroying animals, or any parts thereof, shall notify his or her teacher regarding this objection, upon notification by the school of his or her rights pursuant to Section 32255.4.

(b) If the pupil chooses to refrain from participation in an education project involving the harmful or destructive use of animals, and if the teacher believes that an adequate alternative education project is possible, then the teacher may work with the pupil to develop and agree upon an alternate avenue for obtaining the knowledge, information, or experience required by the course of study in question.

(c) The alternative education project shall require a comparable time and effort investment by the pupil. It shall not, as a means of penalizing the pupil be more arduous than the original education project.

(d) The pupil shall not be discriminated against based upon his or her decision to exercise his or her rights pursuant to this chapter.

(e) Pupils choosing an alternative educational project shall pass all examinations for the respective course of study in order to receive credit for that course of study. However, if tests require the harmful or destructive use of animals, a pupil may, similarly, seek alternative tests pursuant to this chapter.

(f) A pupil's objection to participating in an educational project pursuant to this section shall be substantiated by a note from his or her parent or guardian. (Added by Stats.1988, c.65, 2.)

32255.3 Decision of teacher on alternative educational project not arbitrary or capricious

(a) A teacher's decision in determining if a pupil may pursue an alternative educational project or be excused from the project shall not be arbitrary or capricious.

(b) Nothing in this chapter shall prevent any pupil from pursuing the grievance procedures in existing law. (Added by Stats. 1988,c.65, 2)

32255.4 Teacher utilizing live or dead animals or parts in course; duty to inform pupils of rights Each teacher teaching a course that utilizes live or dead animals or animals parts shall also inform the pupils of their rights pursuant to this chapter. (Added by Stats. 1988,c.65, 2)

32255.5 Application of chapter from kindergarten through grades 1 to 12 Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, this chapter applies to all levels of instruction in all public schools operating programs from kindergarten through 1 to 12, inclusive. (Added by Stats. 1988,c.65, 2)

32255.6 Exemption of certain classes and activities from chapter Classes and activities, conducted as part of a program in agricultural education that provide instruction on the care, management, and evaluation of domestic animals are exempt from the provisions of this chapter. (Added by Stats. 1988,c.65, 2)
Return to Top

Colorado

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Connecticut

House Bill No. 6329

Public Act No. 13-273

AN ACT CONCERNING DISSECTION CHOICE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2013) (a) A local or regional school district shall excuse any student from participating in, or observing, the dissection of any animal as part of classroom instruction, provided the parent or guardian of such student has requested, in writing, that such student be excused from such participation or observation.

(b) Any student excused from participating in, or observing, the dissection of any animal as part of classroom instruction shall be required to complete an alternate assignment to be determined by the local or regional school district.
Return to Top

Delaware

Delaware attempted to pass a student choice policy, but was unsuccessful. If you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Washington, DC

WASHINGTON DC'S OFFICE OF THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION'S NON-REGULATORY GUIDANCE FOR LOCALE DUCATION AGENCIES (REGARDING) ANIMAL DISSECTION OPT-OUT CHOICE FOR DISTRICT STUDENTS

Effective Date: September 10, 2012

PURPOSE OF THIS GUIDANCE

The purpose of this guidance is to provide Local education agencies (LEA) with instructions for properly implementing choice for District students in the animal dissection application within science instruction.

Introduction
OSSE recommends that LEAs that elect to include animaldissection as a part of their science instruction also create an Animal Dissection opt-out form for SY2012-13. Where a school does implement anopt-out policy, OSSE recommends that alternative activity(ies) to provide instruction on the same standard(s) be provided.
Although schools and teachers are free to use dissection as a part of their lesson plan, students who do not wish to dissect an animal for moral or religious reasons can be provided with an alternative lesson that accomplishes the same level of mastery. Alternatives to animal dissection may include web-based dissection, plastic or clay model dissection, videos/films, books, transparencies and any other activities crafted by educators that address the same standard(s). OSSE suggests that LEAs require a guardian's signature supporting the student's choice to opt out of dissection activities. Schools will be expected to notify parents of the opt-out option within twoweeks of dissection activities.

Applicability
This guidance applies to all Local Education Agencies within the District of Columbia who use animal dissection as a portion of their science instruction.

Contact Information
For information regarding this guidance, please contact John Neral at john.neral@dc.gov.
Return to Top

Florida

Florida Statutes

Education 233.0674

Biological experiments on living subjects:
(1) Legislative intent.–
(a) The legislature finds that:
1. Biological experimentation is essential for an understanding of the complexity and diversity of life processes;
2. Such studies should lead to a broader awareness of living systems;
3. Capable students anxious to pursue careers in biological sciences should receive appropriate encouragement and guidance; and
4. Biological experimentation should be within the comprehension and capabilities of the student undertaking the study.
(b) The Legislature recognizes that the use of live animals in some kinds of experiments by students in grades K through 12 may be distasteful or traumatizing to immature students.

(2) State Policy.– It is therefore the intent of the Legislature with respect to biological experiments involving living subjects by students in grades K through 12 that:
(a) No surgery or dissection shall be performed on any living mammalian vertebrate or bird. Dissection may be performed on any non-living mammals or birds secured from a recognized source of such specimens and under supervision of qualified instructors. Students may be excused upon written request of a parent or guardian.
(b) Lower orders of life and invertebrates may be used in such experiments.
(c) Non-mammalian vertebrates, excluding birds, may be used in biological experiments, provided that physiological harm does not result from such experiments. Anatomical studies shall only be conducted on models which are anatomically correct for the animals being studied or on non-living non-mammalian vertebrates secured from a recognized source of such specimens and under the supervision of qualified instructors. Students may be excused from such experiments upon written request of the parent or guardian.
(d) Observational studies of animals in the wild or in zoological parks, gardens, or aquaria, or of pets, fish, domestic animals, or livestock may be conducted.
(e) Studies of vertebrate animal cells, such as red blood cells or other tissue cells, plasma or serum, or anatomical specimens, such as organs, tissues, or skeletons, purchased or acquired from biological supply houses or research facilities or from wholesale or retail establishments which supply carcasses or parts of food animals may be conducted.
(f) Normal physiological and behavioral studies of the human animal may be conducted, provided that such projects are carefully selected so that neither physiological or psychological harm to the subject can result from such studies.
(g) All experiments shall be carried out under the supervision of a competent science teacher who shall be responsible for ensuring that the student has the necessary comprehension for the study to be undertaken. Whenever feasible, specifically qualified experts in the field should be consulted.
(h) Live animals on the premises of public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools shall be housed and cared for in a humane and safe manner. Animals shall not remain on the premises of any school during periods when such school is not in session, unless adequate care is provided for such animals.

(3) Exemptions.– The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit or constrain conventional instruction in the normal practices of animal husbandry or exhibition of any livestock in connection with an agricultural program or instruction of advanced students participating in advanced research, scientific studies, or projects.
Return to Top

Georgia

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Hawaii

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Idaho

This state currently has no legal policy for sudents in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Illinois

Public Act 91-0771
AN ACT in relation to alternatives to dissection.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:

Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Dissection Alternatives Act.

Section 5. Findings and purpose.

(a) The General Assembly finds and declares that the appropriate use of dissection in research and education has contributed a great deal to the advancement of medical and biological science. Without dissection the science of anatomy could not have advanced, and it is the bedrock supporting the modern practice of surgery in its many forms. The appropriate use of dissection has brought many benefits to the people of this State, and it continues to play important roles in medical and veterinary practice, research, and education.

(b) The General Assembly also finds that the remarkable progress of the last few decades has produced significant advances in computing and the graphic and representational arts, and that these developments have resulted in the creation of many new technologies for teaching anatomy, physiology, and other medical and biological sciences. In certain circumstances these new technologies are capable of providing an educational experience superior to dissection, and they have often proven to be less expensive and more humane.

(c) The General Assembly also finds that the use of dissection, when inappropriate or poorly supervised, can result in the inhumane treatment and unnecessary suffering of animals. The inappropriate or careless use of dissection in schools has also in some instances traumatized students and contributed to a failure to teach proper respect for life and living creatures.

(d) It is the purpose of this Act to encourage schools in this State to make available and use alternatives to dissection when those alternatives are appropriate and can provide an educational experience that is equal or superior to the traditional use of dissection. It is not in any way the intention of this Act to discourage the appropriate use of dissection in research or when it provides a valuable educational experience to students.

Section 10. Definitions. For the purposes of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:
"Student" means a pupil at a public or private elementary or secondary school in Illinois.
"Teacher" means a person who is teaching at a public or private elementary or secondary school in Illinois, regardless of whether that teaching is on a full-time or part-time, temporary or permanent, or regular or substitute basis.

"Dissection" includes cutting, killing, preserving, or mounting of living or dead animals or animal parts for scientific study; but does not include the cutting, preserving, or mounting of (1) meat or other animal products that have been processed for use as food or in the preparation of food or (2) wool, silk, glue, or other commercial or artistic products derived from animals.

Section 15. Alternative student projects. A school may excuse a student enrolled in a course in which students are ordinarily expected to perform, participate in, or observe dissection who objects for any reason to performing, participating in, or observing that dissection and instead allow the student to complete an alternative project. The alternative project should be nonpunitive and should be reasonably chosen to provide the student, through means other than dissection, with knowledge similar to that expected to be gained by other students in the course who perform, participate in, or observe the dissection. The alternative project should be consistent with any guidelines for alternative projects that have been adopted by the State Board of Education.

Section 20. Guidelines for notification of students and parents.
(a) The State Board of Education shall develop and make available guidelines that may be used by the public elementary and secondary schools within this State to give appropriate notice of the following to students and their parents or legal guardians:
(1) Which, if any, of the courses taught at the school ordinarily require or allow the student to perform, participate in, or observe dissection.
(2) Whether or not the school makes available to students the opportunity to complete an alternative project.
(b) When offering high school students an opportunity to choose between dissection or an alternative project, teachers should encourage the students to take into consideration the expectations and requirements of the colleges and graduate programs that they may be interested in attending.

Section 25. Discrimination prohibited. A student may not be penalized or discriminated against in any way for refusing to perform, participate in, or observe dissection.

Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon becoming law and first applies to the 2000-2001 school year.
Return to Top

Indiana

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Iowa

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Kansas

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Kentucky

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Louisiana

Louisiana passed a state resolution in 1992.
Return to Top

Maine

Maine adopted a state department of education policy in 1989.
Return to Top

Maryland

Maryland adopted a consensus of county policy through the department of education in 1997.
Return to Top

Massachusetts

In 2005, the Massachusetts Board of Education adopted a policy that gives students who do not want to dissect the right to use dissection alternatives instead.
Return to Top

Michigan

Michigan has a dissection choice policy, urging school districts to allow students to "opt out of dissection activities without fear of reprisal." Click here to read more.

Michigan is pursuing student choice legislation. House bill 4254 regarding dissection choice was introduced in 2005 and referred to the House Education Committee. Click here for more information.
Return to Top

Mississippi

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Missouri

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Montana

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Nebraska

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Nevada

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Board of Education Student Choice Policy
Adopted March 26, 2014

Educators in New Hampshire understand that the most successful teaching and learning results when performance-based lessons are personalized and students have a voice in directing their own learning pathways. Activities that support learning must address social, emotional, physical, and cognitive aspects of learning and provide comprehensive supports for students who might not be comfortable with certain learning activities. An activity in which living or dead animals are viewed, cut, killed, inspected, touched, handled, preserved, mounted, or otherwise manipulated in ways which may cause harm to them, is a potential source of ethical conflict or sensitivity that may adversely affect student learning.

This policy provides an opportunity for students to replace such instructional activities with choices that are more engaging for them without loss of academic value. The regulations and requirements set in this policy will cover all K-12 students in the school district and will be in place for all courses of study involving life science curriculum for which the use of animals, living or dead, might be considered a potential learning activity. Any activities that may cause ethical conflicts for students due to potential harm or death to animals shall fall under this Student Choice Policy. An animal is considered to be any organism, living or dead that is classified in the Kingdom Animalia. Any student, for any reason, may choose to replace an activity that causes harm to animals, whether they be already dead, such in dissections, or living, such as animal testing, with an alternative activity that does not.

Those instructors that teach dissection/vivisection in their classes should verbally announce the Student Choice Policy to all students on the first day of their class, and include the policy in their course syllabus. The policy is also available for review on the district website. Teachers should also inform their students that alternatives to killing, harming, or dissecting animals will be made available to them at the time of the activity in which animals will be used.

Students must inform their teachers of their intention to replace an activity prior to the start of that activity. Teachers should include alternatives to the activities covered by this policy in their curriculum, and syllabi, and information on the replacement process should be provided in course syllabi and Program of Studies, or Course Catalogue. While students should be given a voice in their alternative choices, the teacher has the responsibility of determining, which alternate activities will allow students to meet the standards and learning objectives intended by the original activity. The teacher should maintain an updated list of approved alternate activities that still provide students with opportunities to meet competency for the standards being taught.

Alternative activities should not be more difficult, or require more work or time than the original activity with which the student had ethical conflicts. These may include computer simulations, models, videos, and charts, all of which should be readily available to incorporate into life science exercises. A student's grade will not be affected in any way due to the choice of alternative to animal dissection or activities, which harm animals. Likewise, the alternative choices will be comparable in depth and scope to the learning outcomes of the dissection activity and help the student meet competency in the standards.

Source: New Hampshire Department of Education

Return to Top

New Jersey

18A:35-4.24 Definitions relative to alternative education projects.

1.As used in this act:

"Alternative education project" means the use of video tapes, models, films, books, computers, or any other tools which provide an alternative method for obtaining and testing the knowledge, information, or experience required by a course of study.

"Animal" means any living organism that is an invertebrate, or is in the phylum chordata or organisms which have a notochord and includes an animal's cadaver or severed parts of an animal's cadaver.

L.2005,c.266,s.1.

18A:35-4.25 Refusal to participate in certain school activities related to animal dissection, etc.

2. a. A public school pupil from kindergarten through grade 12 may refuse to dissect, vivisect, incubate, capture or otherwise harm or destroy animals or any parts thereof as part of a course of instruction.

b.A school shall notify pupils and their parents or guardians at the beginning of each school year of the right to decline to participate in the activities enumerated in subsection a. of this section and shall authorize parents or guardians to assert the right of their children to refuse to participate in these activities. Within two weeks of the receipt of the notice, the pupils, parents or guardians shall notify the school if the right to decline participation in the enumerated activities will be exercised.

c.Any pupil who chooses to refrain from participation in or observation of a portion of a course of instruction in accordance with this section shall be offered an alternative education project for the purpose of providing the pupil with the factual knowledge, information or experience required by the course of study. A pupil may refuse to participate in an alternative education project which involves or necessitates any harmful use of an animal or animal parts.

d.A pupil shall not be discriminated against, in grading or in any other manner, based upon a decision to exercise the rights afforded pursuant to this act.

L.2005,c.266,s.2.
Return to Top

New Mexico

New Mexico adopted a memorial for the department of education to study alternatives in 2004.
Return to Top

New York

State Consolidated Laws: Education, Article 17

Instruction in Certain Subjects

S 809. Instruction in the humane treatment of animals

4. Dissection of animals. Any student expressing a moral or religious objection to the performance or witness of the dissection of an animal, either wholly or in part, shall be provided the opportunity to undertake and complete an alternative project that shall be approved by such student's teacher; provided, however, that such objection is substantiated in writing by the student's parent or legal guardian. Students who perform alternative projects who do not perform or witness the dissection of animals shall not be penalized.

5. Treatment of live vertebrate animals.
a. Except as provided for in this subdivision, no school district, school principal, administrator, or teacher shall require or permit the performance of a lesson or experimental study on a live vertebrate animal in any such school or during any activity conducted under the auspices of such school whether or not the activity takes place on the premises of such school where such lesson or experimental study employs: (i) micro-organisms which cause disease in humans or animals, (ii) ionizing radiation, (iii) known cancer producing agents, (iv) chemicals at toxic levels, (v) drugs producing pain or deformity, (iv) severe extremes of temperature, (vii) electric or other shock, (viii)( excessive noise, (ix) noxious fumes, (x) exercise to exhaustion, (xi) overcrowding, (xii) paralysis by muscle relaxants or other means, (xiii) deprivation or excess of food, water or other essential nutrients, (xiv) surgery or other invasive procedures, (xv) other extreme stimuli, or (xvi) termination of life.
b. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of this section, the commissioner may, upon the submission of a written program plan, issue to such school a written waiver of such restrictions for students subject to the following provisions: (i) the student shall be in grade ten, eleven, or twelve; and (ii) the students shall be under supervision of one or more teachers certified in science; and (iii) the student shall be pursuing an accelerated course of study in the sciences as defined by the commissioner in preparation for taking a state or national advanced placement examination. The commissioner shall issue a waiver of such restrictions for any teacher certified in science instructing such student. The written program plan shall include, but not be limited to: i) the educational basis for requesting a waiver; (ii) the objective of the lesson or experiment; (iii) the methods and techniques to be used; and (iv) any other information required by the commissioner.
Return to Top

North Carolina

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

North Dakota

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Ohio

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Oklahoma

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Oregon

Enrolled Senate Bill 383 Sponsored by Senator DECKERT
Relating to dissection of animals; and declaring an emergency. Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:

SECTION 1.
(1) A kindergarten through grade 12 public school student may refuse to dissect any vertebrate or invertebrate animal or the parent or legal guardian of a kindergarten through grade 12 public school student may refuse to allow the student to dissect any vertebrate or invertebrate animal.

(2) A school district that includes dissection as part of its coursework shall permit students to demonstrate competency in the coursework through alternative materials or methods of learning that do not include the dissection of animals. These alternative materials and methods may include but are not limited to:
(a) Videotapes, DVDs and CD-ROMs;
(b) Models;
(c) Films;
(d) Books;
(e) Computer programs;
(f) Clay modeling; and
(g) Transparencies.

(3) A kindergarten through grade 12 public school teacher may not discriminate against a student or lower the grade of a student for not participating in the dissection of an animal.

(4) A school district shall notify students who have dissection as part of their coursework and the parents and legal guardians of those students about the provisions of this section.

SECTION 2.
Section 1 of this 2005 Act first applies to the 2005-2006 school year.

SECTION 3.
This 2005 Act being necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is declared to exist, and this 2005 Act takes effect July 1, 2005.
Return to Top

Pennsylvania

School Code PA 30, No. 14

Section 2: The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 1522. Pupil's Right of Refusal; Animal Dissection

(a) Public or nonpublic school pupils from kindergarten through grade twelve may refuse to dissect, vivisect, incubate, capture or otherwise warm or destroy animals, or any parts thereof, as part of their course of instruction.
(b) Schools shall notify incoming pupils and their parents or guardian of the right to decline to participate in an education project involving harmful or destructive use of animals and authorize parents or guardians to assert the rights of their children to refuse to participate in those projects. Notice shall be given not less than three (3) weeks prior to the scheduled course exercise which involves the use of animals.
(c) A pupil who chooses to refrain from participation or observation of a portion of a course of instruction in accordance with this section shall be offered an alternative education project for the purpose of providing the pupil an avenue for obtaining the factual knowledge, information or experience required by the course of study. If tests require harmful or destructive use of animals, pupils shall be offered alternative tests. A pupil shall not be discriminated against based upon his or her decision to exercise the right afforded that pupil by this section an lowering a grade because a pupil has chosen an alternative education project or test is strictly prohibited.
(d) As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meaning given to them in this subsection:
(1) "Alternative education project" shall include, but is not limited to, the use of video tapes, models, films, books and computers which would provide an alternate avenue for obtaining the knowledge, information or experience required by the course of study in question. The term also includes "alternative test". A pupil has the right to refuse any alternative education project or test which may involve or necessitate any harmful use of an animals or animal parts.
(2) "Animal" shall mean any living organism of the kingdom animalia in the phylum chordata, organisms which have a notochord. The term also includes an animal's cadaver or severed parts of any animal's cadaver.
(3) "Pupil" shall mean a person twenty-one (21) years of age or under who is matriculated in a course of instruction in an educational institution from kindergarten through grade twelve. For the purpose of asserting the pupil's rights and receiving any notice or response pursuant to this section, the term also includes the parents or guardians of the matriculated minor.
Return to Top

Rhode Island

Chapter 214

An Act Relating to Education Curriculum

Chapter 16-22 of the General Laws entitled "Curriculum" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section: Animal dissection and vivisection–right to refuse–Alternate learning project required

(a) A parent(s) or legal guardian of any student in a public or non public primary or secondary school may refuse to allow their child to dissect or vivisect any vertebrate or invertebrate anima, or any part of a vertebrate or invertebrate animal.

(b) A school that offers dissection or vivisection as a learning activity shall permit those students whose parent(s) or legal guardians refuse to allow them to participate to demonstrate competency through an alternative method of learning the material that would be covered in the activity. Alternative materials and methods may include but not limited to: video tapes, models, films, books, computer programs, clay modeling or transparencies.

(c) A teacher shall not discriminate against a student for not participating in dissection or vivisection and shall not lower a grade because a student's parent or legal guardian has chosen an alternative education project.
Return to Top

South Carolina

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

South Dakota

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Tennessee

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Texas

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Utah

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Vermont

Vermont H. 711

Sec. 4. 16 V.S.A. § 912 is added to read:

§ 912. PUPIL’S RIGHT OF REFUSAL; ANIMAL DISSECTION

(a) A student in a public elementary or secondary school or an approved independent school shall have the right to be excused from participating in any lesson, exercise, or assessment requiring the student to dissect, vivisect, or otherwise harm or destroy an animal or any part of an animal, or to observe any of these activities, as part of a course of instruction.

(b) Each school district and approved independent school shall adopt and implement policies regarding a student’s right to be excused under this section, which shall include:

(1) Procedures by which the school shall provide:

(A) Timely notification to each student enrolled in the course and to the student’s parent or guardian of the student’s right to be excused from participating in or observing the lesson; and (B) The process by which a student may exercise this right.

(2) Alternative education methods through which a student excused under this section can learn and be assessed on material required by the course.

(3) A statement that no student shall be discriminated against based on his or her decision to exercise the right to be excused afforded by this section.

(c) As used in this section, the word “animal” means any organism of the kingdom animalia and includes an animal’s cadaver or the severed parts of an animal’s cadaver.

Sec. 5. PUPIL’S RIGHT OF REFUSAL; ANIMAL DISSECTION

On or before August 15, 2008, each school district and approved independent school shall develop and implement procedures pursuant to 16 V.S.A. § 912(b), created in Sec. 4 of this act, which shall be adopted as policy within the district or approved independent school no later than November 1, 2008.
Return to Top

Virginia

CHAPTER 918

An Act to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 22.1-200.01, relating to alternatives to animal dissection in public school courses and curriculum.
[H 1018]

Approved April 15, 2004

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 22.1-200.01 as follows:

§ 22.1-200.01. Alternatives to animal dissection.

Local school divisions shall provide students with alternatives to animal dissection techniques within the relevant public school curriculum or course. The Board of Education shall establish guidelines to be implemented by local school divisions regarding such alternative dissection techniques. Such guidelines shall address, but shall not be limited to, (i) the use of detailed models of animal anatomy and computer simulations as alternatives to dissection; (ii) notification of students and parents of the option to decline to participate in animal dissection; and (iii) such other issues as the Board
Return to Top

Washington

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

West Virginia

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Wisconsin

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

Wyoming

This state currently has no legal policy for students in place. However, if you would like to pursue passing a policy please contact Animalearn.
Return to Top

The Science Bank: Alternatives to Animal Use in Education Humane Science Loan Program Borrow Free Dissection Alternatives Education Level:
Type of Animal:
Type of Alternative:
Find an Alternative
Entire dissection alternatives catalog
Download a PDF of the Science Bank Catalog Request a Printed copy of the Science Bank Catalog Support Animalearn