Kind Education involves teaching students using methods that don't involve the harmful use of animals.
By using kind education methods, such as alternatives to animal dissections, both animals and students benefit.
Benefits for animals
Animals are saved: Some animals are bred and killed for the sole purpose of being used in animal dissections. If an alternative is used instead, these animals can be rehomed or never be bred for this purpose in the first place.
Kindness and empathy towards animals are encouraged: Dissecting animals may also teach students that the right, and perhaps only way to study biology, is to kill animals and take them apart, which we know isn't true. It's important that children learn to have compassion for animals and recognise each animal's inherent worth.
Benefits for students
A safer, more inclusive learning space: Many students feel (and often justifiably so) that they have to participate in whatever teaching exercises their teachers give them, even if they have serious ethical, cultural, or religious objections.
This can lead to a student dropping out of the study they want to do, changing career paths entirely, or performing the animal teaching exercise against their conscience.1 The students that end up participating because they do not feel they have the academic freedom to say no, can be left with unhelpful emotions that impact their mental well-being.
Concerns may not always be shared with their teacher, but studies show that many students would opt for something else given a true choice. Sadly, peer pressure and persuasion by authority figures play a role in the decision.2
Kind Education avoids these ethical dilemmas for students – they can learn more effectively while not being distressed about participating in unethical exercises.
Encouraging compassionate future scientists: Students can be negatively emotionally impacted by participating in teaching exercises that harm animals. Students that perceive dissections as a negative experience are usually uninvolved in the processes,3 decreasing their chances of learning well.
Students may find the act of dissection disturbing. Performing dissections requires the students to develop a certain amount of desensitisation and coping mechanisms. For example, emotional distancing, light-hearted humour or engaging in the mutilation of the “specimens.”4
Students who don’t enjoy animal dissections can be put off a career in science entirely.5Whereas kind education methods have shown positive effects on learning and motivation.6
Better learning outcomes for students: Students often perform just as well, if not better, when using alternative methods to animal dissections. These alternatives can be repeated to consolidate learning without the distress of harming animals.
This was shown in the results from a literature review on independent peer-reviewed studies that have compared the teaching efficacy of animal versus non-animal teaching methods. The results showed that 19 of 20 studies concluded that students learn equivalently or better using non-animal teaching methods. So, in many cases, the animal-free and kind education option can enhance student learning.7
Similar results were found in literature comparing “traditional” harmful animal use and “humane” teaching methods, with 90% of the 50 publications indicating equal or superior results with animal-friendly teaching.8
Even the environment can benefit
Animal-free models can be re-used many times, and, in many cases, software can be used indefinitely, making these options more sustainable and cheaper in the long run.9
- Return to the Kind Education homepage.
- Learn about the many alternatives to animal dissections.
- Find out why the future is Kind.