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Teenager Speaks Up Against Dissecting Cats in High School

Lifelong animal lovers were often faced with a troubling dilemma back in high school. Although many of us were interested in learning about biology, the dread of knowing you'd have to dissect a cat or fetal pig often prevented us from furthering our studies in this area. If you took a pass on advanced biology class or had to endure the dissection of a cat in the lab portion of the course, you'll be interested to hear about a Virginia student named Brynnan and her anti-cat dissection petition at

Brynnan's interest in science led her to take an anatomy class at Culpeper High School. She was shocked to hear she'd have to dissect a cat. The teacher told the class to pick a black cat if they had a white cat at home or a white cat if they had a black cat as a pet! Brynnan was horrified at the idea of dissecting any cat, regardless of fur color.

Brynnan with her cat (photo from

As a sensitive animal lover, Brynnan wasn't sure how to deal with the situation. She talked to her mother, Tamira Thayne, about it and asked if she could be homeschooled to avoid the trauma of dissecting a companion animal. Her mom decided it would be best to take her out of school to protect her from psychological distress.

Tamira also decided to try to help other students, first at Brynnan's old high school and eventually at high schools around the country. She started a petition at requesting that Brynnan's school district ban cat dissection in class. The petition closed with over 100,000 supporters, reaching people worldwide.

If you agree that there are other, less traumatizing, and more humane ways to teach anatomy to teenagers (such as 3D models or computer simulations), you can support this issue by spreading awareness through social media!

The Disturbing Reality

Cats are our friends and companions. They shouldn't be subjected to this kind of mistreatment in the classroom. Unfortunately, some schools don't prioritize ethical considerations when conducting their experiments. This means cats can suffer immensely during the process and be treated as nothing more than lab tools.

That's why Brynnan fought to end cat dissection in high school laboratories once and for all. She's brought awareness to the issue so more students can understand how unethical this practice is—and how there are alternatives available to replace animals as methods of learning anatomy.

By taking a stance against animal cruelty in her own classroom, she's made an impact that will last long beyond her time in school.

Cruelty-Free Alternative

Cat sleeping on Science book

If you want to join the fight against cruelty to animals and want a cruelty-free alternative for your biology class, plenty of choices are available.

For instance, students can opt for computer simulations, interactive games, plastic models, or multimedia materialsall of which provide an accurate and vivid representation of the natural world without harming animals or the environment.

Additionally, schools can turn to videos that show actual dissections performed by experts in a humane setting to help students develop their understanding while sparing even the simplest creatures from unnecessary harm.

This alternative considers animal welfare and scientific accuracy, so why not pursue it? Join Brynnan and help bring attention to the importance of ethical education!

Dissecting Cats In High School FAQs

Do schools still make students dissect cats?

Yes, some schools still make students dissect cats or other animals in their biology laboratory classes. Though thankfully, this practice is slowly becoming less common. There has been a big push from activists and animal rights groups to end this cruel practice, and it's working—many high schools have already replaced traditional dissections with digital simulations.

Where do the cats come from in high school dissections?

Sadly, a lot of cats used for dissection are bred for this purpose. There have also been cases of cats being stolen from shelters or taken off the street, so it's essential to be aware of where these cats come from and how they're treated before they end up in school labs.

Is it illegal to dissect a cat in school?

No, it's not illegal, but some laws regulate how cats can be used for educational purposes. For example, some states require all animals used in dissection to be humanely euthanized before they're put into a lab setting. Other places may have similar laws and regulations that should be followed when using animals for educational purposes.

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Deborah Chastain - January 4, 2024

These schools are fully aware that there are alternative methods. I’m so surprised this barbaric practice is still being forced upon the students.

Terry Williams - November 27, 2023

Glad this student saved these cats. I love cats. I, too, am deeply sadden that schools can do this to cats.

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