It is an unfortunate fact that life and health sciences education has traditionally involved the harmful use of animals. Many millions of animals have lost their lives in attempts to teach practical skills and demonstrate scientific principles which have, in most cases, been established for decades. However, many thousands of humane educational alternatives are now catalogued in databases, covering every educational level and academic discipline. These include computer simulations, videos, plasticised specimens, ethically-sourced cadavers (obtained from animals that have been euthanized for medical reasons, or that have died naturally or in accidents), models, diagrams, non-invasive self-experimentation and supervised clinical experiences.
At least 33 papers sourced from the biomedical and educational literature, covering all educational levels and disciplines, have described studies comparing the ability of humane alternatives to impart knowledge or clinical or surgical skills. 39.4% (13/33) demonstrated that alternative students achieved superior learning outcomes, or achieved equivalent results more quickly, allowing time for additional learning. 51.5% (17/33) demonstrated equivalent educational efficacy, and only 9.1% (3/33) demonstrated inferior educational efficacy of humane alternatives. The design of one of the latter studies has been substantially criticised. Yet the harmful use of animals in biomedical education persists.
This site provides resources to guide and assist students who wish to conscientiously object to harmful animal use in their education, including:
▪ detailed submissions describing the alternatives available in certain academic disciplines, that have successfully resulted in their introduction at some universities
▪ links to free on-line alternatives
▪ links to alternatives databases
▪ links to alternatives libraries
▪ links to humane education email lists
▪ links to other humane education web sites
It is my hope that these resources may assist others to successfully introduce humane alternatives to harmful animal use in their own universities and schools, as my colleagues and I have done at various universities internationally.