There are many different types of non-harmful teaching methods including alternatives to animal dissections. These include anatomical models, virtual dissections and anatomy apps, augmented reality tools and more!
Using these methods has many benefits; animals are saved, they are more inclusive, safer and less traumatic for students, they provide better academic outcomes, they're cheaper and they align with already existing guidelines.
There are so many of these methods that there are searchable databases that showcase the many options:
- Check out some databases from the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.
- Visit the Science Bank to see search their database. You can search by animal type, education level and more!
- Also, check out the Interniche Alternatives Database.
The variety of non-harmful teaching methods is massive! There are basic methods like videos and illustrations and then there are more sophisticated and interactive tools. Here are some of our favourite teaching tools and providers:
Alternatives to animal dissections
These include virtual dissections, augmented reality software and anatomical models. For example:
- Mel and Gerdy Paper dissections (paper anatomical models)
- Anatomy in Clay (hand-crafted skeletal models of both animals and humans)
- 4D Vision Anatomy models (plastic anatomical models)
- Emantras Frog and Rat Dissection (virtual dissections)
- Biosphera 3D Anatomy apps (virtual dissections of both animals and humans)
- Froggipedia (augmented reality learning)
- Merge cube (interactive software)
- zSpace (augmented reality learning)
- Victory VR (virtual dissections)
- Cat Explorer (virtual dissections)
Tools for teaching human anatomy
These include synthetic models, sophisticated software and augmented reality learning. For example:
- Anatomage (3D anatomy software)
- Primal Pictures (medically accurate 3D models of human anatomy)
- Visible Body software (3D models, illustrations, and animations)
- 3DAnatomica (augmented reality learning)
- 3D4Medical Apps (3D anatomy software)
- Interspectral (interactive software)
- Google Expeditions (augmented reality learning)
- Virtualitee (augmented reality learning)
- Syndaver (sophisticated synthetic human and animal tissue body parts and full bodies)
Tools for training veterinary students
The use of animals to train veterinary students doesn't need to involve the harmful use of animals in any way. Instead, students could build basic skills with models and mannequins (and ethically sourced cadavers) and then move on to shadowing qualified vets in clinics and doing tasks under close supervision.
Examples of non-harmful methods include:
- Rescue Critters (mannequins, simulators and other models)
- Paws2Claws (mannequins and other models)
- Bone Clones (models of skulls and skeletons)
- Haptic Cow (virtual reality simulator)
Tools for training medical students
The availability of methods like these is so great that currently 100% of medical schools in the US and Canada have ended live animal use for medical student training. These medical schools now use non-harmful methods such as lifelike interactive and programmable simulators that better replicate human anatomy and physiology.
- zSpace (virtual reality dissections)
- SynDaver Labs (anatomical models and simulation manikins)
- Surgireal (synthetic models)
- Bodyworks Eve (patient simulators)
- Mentone Educational Centre (anatomical models, synthetic cadavers and virtual dissection tools)