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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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Are Animals Necessary in Biological Education?

Nick Jukes

Ensuring the most ethical and effective ways of meeting teaching objectives requires good curricular design. Such design should be informed by knowledge of the available learning tools and approaches, and by reviews and studies that investigate their pedagogical efficacy. Alternatives have been shown to meet teaching objectives as least as well as conventional animal use, and they do not share the “hidden curriculum” of animal practicals that can teach disrespect for life and hinder the development of critical thinking skills. Most alternatives have been developed by teachers for their pedagogical and scientific benefits, and their implementation can bring cutting-edge technology to the process of learning. For the minority of students who genuinely need hands-on experience with animals, the use of ethically sourced animal cadavers and tissue, and clinical work with animal patients, can offer valuable learning opportunities. No animal needs to be killed or harmed within biological education.