Our goal is to get frog dissections out of every United States public school by 2014: help us make it happen! Please be sure to contact us if your school abandons its frog dissection program. Thanks!
Frog dissections are unethical and unnecessary. Furthermore, they are contributing to the depletion of wild frog populations and the spread of harmful invasive species and infectious diseases. As excellent alternatives exist, SAVE THE FROGS! highly recommends that schools switch to virtual dissection software such as the Digital Frog 2.5. We invite all students and teachers to assist worldwide amphibian conservation efforts by participating in our Race To Stop Dissections Contest.
Our goal is to have frog dissections out of every public school in the USA by 2014. That is not a lot of time, considering the huge number of schools that currently dissect. With your help though, we can achieve our goal! In 2011, we want 200 USA public schools to abandon their dissection programs: help us make it happen!
Calling All Teachers! Calling All Students! The Race To Stop Dissections Contest has begun and the frogs need you to take part! We want you working to get your school to abandon its frog dissection program. Not only will you learn all about frogs and campaign organizing, you will will experience the satisfaction of being the ones who saved the hundreds to thousands of frogs destined to die because of your school's participation in the frog dissection trade. Plus you could win $$$ CASH PRIZES $$$ -- so go sign up for the Race To Stop Dissections Contest!
Frog populations are rapidly disappearing worldwide, and the use of frogs for dissection is a contributor to extinctions in many parts of the world:
(1) In many regions (including the USA!), frogs are taken out of the wild, severely depleting wild populations.
(2) Captive-raised frogs often carry harmful infectious diseases that they spread to native frog populations.
(3) Many of the frogs used in the dissection trade are known invasive species that are captive-raised outside of their native range. Inevitably, some of these frogs escape their holding facilities, reproduce, multiply and then prey on native frogs and other wildlife.
Fortunately, the pressure the dissection trade puts on amphibian populations can be easily fixed: all we have to do is stop dissecting frogs!
"You are doing a commendable initiative in saving the frogs, as dissections in secondary schools claim the lives of thousands of frogs in Tanzania unnecessarily..."
--Ignas Safari, Masters Student, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
(1) Frogs are the most rapidly disappearing group of animals on the planet.
(2) Most frogs being dissected are taken out of the wild.
(3) Farm-raised frogs have high rates of infectious diseases.
(4) Excellent virtual dissection alternatives exist.
(5) Few students have any need to know what the inside of a frog looks like.
(6) If a student plans to be a doctor they can dissect cadavers in med school.
(7) Unnecessarily killing an animal is unethical and teaches students that animals are disposable.
(8) Students' time would be better spent learning about the threats frogs face and ways students can help protect amphibian populations.
(9) Students should not be forced to be unwitting accomplices in the extinction of frog species.
(10) Abandoning your school's dissection program sends a strong signal that you support worldwide amphibian conservation efforts.
Please print this Dissections Flyer at your school!
WRONG. We hear this question commonly when the topic of frog dissections arises in discussions. Unfortunately, the answer is NO! There are many large biological suppliers in the USA that sell wild-caught frogs for use as dissection. In some countries, like Nepal and Egypt, the majority of the frogs are thought to be collected in the wild.
With regards to the farm-raised frogs, is it ethical to raise animals in crowded, diseased conditions, strip them of their ability to experience freedom, and then kill them so that we can show our kids what their guts look like? Is it ethical or wise to teach kids that it's okay to kill an animal that never harmed or attempted to harm us? Perhaps our society's misplaced or forgotten environmental ethic stems initially from our lack of respect for the individual non-human animal. And if that's the case, the environmental and animal rights movements are inextricably linked.
Perhaps not, but do we really need to know what the inside of a frog looks like? What does a student do with that knowledge? If the student plans to become a veterinarian or a medical doctor, they will have plenty of chances to dissect animals and cadavers when they are in graduate school.
Many medical doctors perform surgeries by inserting cameras into patients and viewing the images on televisions. So one could just as easily say that virtual dissection is excellent preparation for future doctors.
Do you think it is safe to have your students armed with scalpels? What if one goes missing? Are you putting your school in a potentially damaging legal situation?
Dr. Samy Zalat, a professor of biodiversity and evolutionary biology in Egypt's Ministry of Environment estimates that over 1,000,000 Egyptian frogs are taken out of the wild each year for use in university laboratories.
University biology students dissect frogs and toads in Ghana. As there are no biological suppliers in the country, each student is required to go out and catch their own frog or toad. Thus virtually all dissection specimens in the country are wild-caught and the catch is completely unregulated.
"Good day, Mr. Kriger. Thank you for your big effort and important activity in business of saving frogs. I'm very glad to tell you that we have some good news about amphibian preservation in Ukraine. The law about ban of withdrawal of wild animals, especially frogs and voles, from wild population for dissection in scientific and study experiments had been signed by president of Ukraine last year (2010). -- Малиношевский "Vil" Виль
We know of no published reports assessing the magnitude and specifics of the frog dissection trade in any country. This is a major gap in the scientific literature that needs to be rapidly addressed. Until such a report is created, it will be extremely difficult to convince groups like the National Science Teachers Associations that they should support a transition to digital frog dissection alternatives.
Here are some of the questions we have for teachers:
--How many frogs per year get dissected in your school?
--What species are they?
--From which state or country are they sourced? From which biological supplier?
--Are they farm raised or wild caught?
--Are any disease testing protocols used by the distributors?
--How much money is spent each year on the purchase and storage of these frogs, and disposal?
--Is frog dissection in your state's standards?
SAVE THE FROGS! has begun compiling such data, but we need support from teachers willing to provide us the details of dissections in their school district. We also seek undergraduate or graduate students who can help collect and analyze the data. And we need funding to complete the project rapidly and throughly. Please contact us if you would like to assist.
Parents: please write a letter to your local school board requesting the details on their frog dissection program (ask these questions). Public schools are required to disclose this information under the Freedom of Information Act. Please inform us of your findings.
"I have never dissected a frog, yet I have excelled in a career in the biological sciences. As the Founder & Executive Director of the world's leading amphibian conservation, I feel it is safe to say that my failure to have dissected a frog in biology class has had little effect on my scientific or professional abilities. Thus I do not see frog dissection as being integral to the success of any middle or high school student (and to only a few undergraduates). Furthermore, teaching kids to cut up frogs does not teach them a respect for wildlife. Instead it teaches them that non-human animals are disposable and that they are here on this planet for our use. We should instead be focusing on teaching them that frogs have every bit as much right to exist on this planet as do we.
--Dr. Kerry Kriger
SUMMARY: Traditional frog dissection is by no means a prerequisite for a successful career in the biological sciences!
Here's a note we received from SAVE THE FROGS! Supporter Krishan Sharma from India:
"Nowadays by generating awareness and alternatives, people do not go for frog dissections. Of course a few years back they used to collect from the wild -- from small ponds where the frogs would come for breeding. These innocent tiny creatures after waiting the whole year were coming to propagate their next generation and got trapped in the hands of suppliers, but now we are very careful. In schools to the best of my knowledge frog dissections has been banned because as an author of a chapter on morphology of frogs about seven years ago in the book NCERT I strongly put a note not to dissect frogs for dissection. This has saved millions of frogs lives. Otherwise we would have large number of students taking Biology curriculum in schools and they would have gone for such practice, but now dissection is not done. In most universities also, we are inspiring people to go for digital alternatives. Best wishes for your mission "Save Frogs Throughout the World". --Krishan Sharma
Please watch Dr. Sharma's video:
Professor, Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA
"My only connection to the subject is as a veterinarian teaching at a small college and serving on an IACUC committee. Ever since childhood, however, I've seen and participated in frog dissections in high school, seen preserved frogs being offered for sale in every biological supply catalog I've ever consulted, and witnessed hundreds of dead frogs used for dissection in college-level biology courses and equal numbers of live frogs being used for physiology experiments. All of this without obvious concern on the part of the course-instructors about the sustainability or the humaneness of these practices. Frog dissecting science teachers ...hardly foster respect for frogs by treating them as an all-purpose, disposable teaching aid.
All animal experimentalists should seek to: reduce the numbers of laboratory animals used to a minimum by proper use of statistical methods, good experimental design and not duplicating research that has already been done elsewhere; refinement of experimental protocols so that research animals are subject to as little pain and distress as possible; and replacement of sentient laboratory animals with tissue culture, immunologic tests, computer models, or lower life forms wherever possible."
"When I was an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia in the 1970's we were required, as part of one of the Zoology Labs to dissect frogs as well as foetal pigs. I refused to participate in the experience arguing with the Dean of Science that I could research all of the necessary material from existing sources. (This was before the Internet existed and research was actually achieved by going to a library). After considerable argument I was allowed to complete the lab requirements without actually participating in the arcane and wasteful dissection process. I ended up receiving a First Class in that course. In 2011 there is absolutely no need to continue frog dissections. Every bit of information that a student requires is readily available from any number of sources." Larry Davis
By Daniel Williford, State Park Interpreter I, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
"Throughout the years, teaching high school biology in a California public classroom usually meant dissecting formaldehyde-soaked specimens from the various biological classifications from invertebrates to mammals. As a biology teacher I found a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of how effective specimen dissection was. The biology class students, consisting primarily of 10th graders, were given a choice about dissection, either the traditional way (using a lab specimen) or by way of virtual dissection (using a computer to learn about the animal). Most students opted for the virtual dissection. When asked why they chose virtual over traditional dissection, many students reasoned the inhumane aspects of such a practice seemed unnecessary.
In learning the same subject matter along with the same expectations and assignments, at the end of each animal study students were tested on the anatomy of that particular animal. Consistently, students who chose the virtual dissection method scored higher on the class exams than students who participated on the traditional methods of dissection. While this is an anecdotal study it does open up the question of how effective high school biology class animal dissections really are and what purpose they serve when other viable alternatives are available to learn the same information."
"You will be happy to know that we influenced a lot of kids and parents and even some teachers about dissection. I was surprised to discover that a lot of parents did not know that this took place in the classroom. Dean even made a speech at the Awards Ceremony about the fact that we are not the only folks living on this planet and stressed the importance of NOT doing any kind of science project that would harm an animal in any way."
--Sandy Dowden, Los Angeles County Office of Education
"As a science major I had a combination of regular dissection and simulated. The simulated was always better because it pointed out things you wouldn't notice due to inexperience and dissection is messy. When you dont know what you're doing you cut in the wrong places, ruin the organs and end up with more blood pooling. Simulation is 100% better."
Carlton Project Lead Science Teacher Heather Nunez on her school's choice to give up dissections: "We are a progressive alternative school, so it will be nice to model/advocate another form of social, ecological responsibility."
"As a little kid I would go in the woods to look at frogs and would also just sit and admire the big fat toad that lived under the front stoop. When I was about 12 my brother and I found a frog with an injured leg and my mom let us keep it until it healed if we promised to take it back to where we found it; we agreed. We got an aquarium and did our best to create a comfortable enclosure with familiar items gathered from his natural surroundings. Every day we would catch bugs for him and delight in watching him regaining the use of his leg. After a short stint in our makeshift froggy wellness center, he was returned right back to where we found him. one year later i was expected to dissect a frog in my science class. I refused, grade be damned. It honestly broke my heart to think about frogs being killed for what typically ended up being (for most at that age) too sad, revolting or comically surreal to make for a productive learning experience. With frogs in peril and technology advanced, there is no reason why kids should be using real preserved frogs in school. Big tip of the hat to the software company and sponsor organizations for offering the free virtual dissection software."
"Just two days ago I was telling someone that one of the most disgusting experiences I had in grade school, in the 1940s, was having to kill and dissect a frog in a science class. The smell of formaldehyde, the smell of the lab, the horror and pointlessness of this put me off even walking into a school lab for the rest of my life and steered me away from science. The second awful event was following up by dissecting a bull's eye. I learned absolutely nothing and had no idea at all at the age why we were doing this or even what we were doing. It taught me nothing apart from the fact that I hated killing anything, that I loathed dissection and that being a doctor or a vet was not for me. Without that experience I might have taken biology course and discovered that animal behavior and conservation interested me but in those dark days no emphasis on these things was included in the curriculum. I was a child, younger than 10, forced to do this awful 'wicked' thing for no discernible reason. Other kids may have felt the same way so I'm sending you this note."
"I'm still haunted by what I saw at a Science Fair in Campbell when I was 10 -- a boy had pinned a live frog to a board and peeled back its chest skin to show the heart beating. I've never forgotten that cruelty and I'd like to do something to make up for that."
--Anastasia, Santa Cruz, CA
"I hated doing this when I was in school back in the 1960's. Disgusting."
--Kitty McAbeer, Arkansas
"My first (and only) experience at killing a live frog was at university. We were paired off and given frogs, then told to destroy their spinal columns and throw them into water to see if they could swim. After that, we had to fish the frogs out of the water and destroy their brains (by pushing a needle in) and throwing them back into the water to see if they could swim. The "experiment" with the frogs was bad enough, but I stopped going to biology labs after they brought in a pregnant cat (newly killed with all her kittens neatly pinned on a board). I switched to geology - anything dead had been that way for a long, long time - and we were not required to kill it ourselves."
--Linda Zachri; Calgary, Alberta
Thanks to SAVE THE FROGS! Volunteer Graphic Designer Loretta Valdez for making this poster! Please post the jpeg on your website; right-click the image to download the 8.5x11" PDF (left-clicking may work too!).
In coordination with the Animal Welfare Institute and Digital Frog International, we are offering a free Full Site License of the Digital Frog 2.5 software (valued at $884) to ANY school in the USA that agrees to abandon their animal dissection programs for a 5-year period. To receive the free software, please have the relevant member of your school's faculty sign and send in this contract.
SAVE THE FROGS! is pleased to have teamed up with the Digital Frog International for a major campaign to get frog dissections out of all United States high schools. The Digital Frog International's excellent software Digital Frog 2.5 not only saves the need for using real frogs, the entire program is a wealth of information on the anatomy and ecology of amphibians.
Plus a portion of your Digital Frog 2.5 purchase will get donated to SAVE THE FROGS!. Just use the coupon code "savethefrogs" at checkout to get 10% off your order...and 20% will be donated to SAVE THE FROGS!
The Science Bank (run by Animalearn), is the largest lending library of humane science products in the United States. Animalearn loans out a variety of frog dissection software like Digital Frog as well as realistic frog models, which are much better options then killing and cutting our frog friends. So rather than dissect a real frog, go check out the Science Bank's library: they will even cover the cost of mailing items to you!
If your classroom, school, or district commits to replacing animal dissection with humane alternatives or implements a formal student dissection choice policy, TeachKind will donate free non-animal learning methods for use in the school's science classrooms. Learn more and apply here.
Please be sure to inform us if your school abandons its frog dissection program!!!
Congratulations to these schools who have accepted a challenge to discontinue all animal dissections in their school (not just frogs!) for a minimum of a 5-year period:
Rancho Verde High School in Moreno, CA
Woodside School in Woodside, CA
Valley High School in North Hills, CA
Aviva High School in Los Angeles, CA
Glendale Adventist Elementary in Glendale, CA
Southwestern Academy in San Marino, CA
Amelia Earhart Middle School in Riverside, CA
The Carleton Project in Presque Isle, ME
Central High School in Los Angeles, CA
Blum High School in Blum, TX
Pope John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester, MA
Central Freshman Campus in San Angelo, TX
Druid Hills Academy in Charlotte, NC
Children's University in Arlington, TX
Channing Hall in Draper, VT
William Wetsel Middle School in Madison, VA
Each school wins a free full-site license of the Digital Frog 2.5 virtual dissection software. Find out how your school can win the free software here. Thanks to our Race To Stop Dissections partner the Animal Welfare Institute for donating the software!
"We am proud of these schools who have pledged to give up frog dissections! In today's world we do not need to harvest animals to dissect when we have the technology and software to learn the same material digitally."
--Jeremy Pelsinski, Biologist and Film-maker; Los Angeles, CA
Subsequent to SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger speaking there about amphibian conservation, the last remaining frog-dissecting teacher in Santa Clara Unified School District agreed to not have his classes dissect frogs in 2011! This action saved 160 WILD-CAUGHT Northern Leopard Frogs (Rana pipiens)!
At the request of 4th grader Gabriel Cruz, the Ivy League School in Smithtown, NY abandoned their frog dissection program on January 10th, 2011. Gabriel learned about the problems with dissections in the December 30th, 2010 SAVE THE FROGS! electronic newsletter.
"Dear Dr. Kriger,
Thank you for sending me the email on dissection. It was the perfect time because I had a field trip coming up to dissect a frog. I didn't go on the trip because in your email you mentioned over 320,000 frogs are killed for dissection. That's why I didn't dissect a frog. Thank you for the letter! Tomorrow my dissection story will be in the newspaper. Sincerely, Gabriel Cruz"
Gabriel Cruz photo by John Griffin
India's University Grants Commission in 2011 issued this recommendation to phase out frog dissections.
Here are some of the articles that have been written about our dissection campaign:
-- Save the Frogs: Animal Rights Groups Help High Schools Do Frog Dissections by Computer Program
ABC News, June 1, 2011
-- Moreno Valley school switches to virtual frog dissections
Riverside Press-Enterprise, May 30, 2011
-- Will Virtual Frog Software Make Traditional Dissections Obsolete?
The Platform, May 31, 2011
-- California high school to end animal dissection, will utilize new digital simulation.
This Dish Is Veg, April 28, 2011
-- Inland Empire school experiments with virtual dissection instead of real frogs
Southern California Public Radio, June 2, 2011
-- Virtual Dissection Anatomy Software Makes for Humane Learning in Schools
Santa Barbara Independent, June 3rd, 2011
-- California high school elects to stop animal dissections
San Francisco Chronicle, April 30, 2011
-- Moreno Valley school chooses virtual over real-life frog dissections Valley News, April 27, 2011
-- Dissecting Frogs a Thing of the Past Thanks to Digital
NBC Los Angeles, April 27, 2011
-- Frog dissections going virtual at school in California
ABC15 TV Phoenix, May 31, 2011
SAVE THE FROGS! on ABC-7 TV San Francisco, May 31, 2011:
A frog poem by Ushree Sen Gupt, 34, of Kolkatta, India (winner of the 2011 SAVE THE FROGS! Poetry Contest 18+ Category).
Frogs. Apparent ugly,
Man. Apparent beautiful,
Frog. Sacrifice lives on biology trays,
Man. Learns science. Discovers.
Ugly Frog, Beautiful Man.
Science tree spreads out..
Root absorbs so many lives..
Laughs the ugly frog.
India, Age 14
A frog poem by Abhishek Pareek, 19, India
Sitting alone on a rainy night
To my delight (and somewhat) fright
I heard a frog croak,
And its sound soak
All the silence pervading my vicinity.
Meek creature, just bumbling around
And making its trademark sound
filling the voids of silence which abound.
So unaware of the snare
made of human inquisitiveness and insensitivity
its such a pity.
Have you ever wondered about its plight,
ever seen the gory sight
of masked faces taking it apart
of seeing its life depart
of it being tampered with a knife
of it lying sans life
of labs rife world around
rife with their bodies.
Its all such a shame
we so frequently proclaim
our superiority to any other life form.
Yet we so frequently fall so low
we, by such acts, show
our crude side
and as you read this some more have died.
From the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science.
Step 1: Dissect the frog to show its alimentary canal.
Step 2: Bring the frog back to life.
Frog Poetry by Gus Lipkin, USA, Age 12
I'm a frog on a lab tray,
waiting to be dissected.
I'd much rather be swimming with my friends,
catching ants and beetles, flies and worms.
I only wanted to live a life,
the life I was meant to live,
dying of old age,
not on the lab table.
All I'd do would be a frog,
doing froggy things like
hopping around town looking for food,
I don't want to be a specimen,
on your lab table.
I lived near ponds with frog friendly fronds.
With my ridges of color, a dark brown.
I don't care to be dissected,
Just please, get me off your lab tray!
Utilization of wild caught animals in education: a case of rampant
vivisections in India. Vasudevan and Supriya (2011)
A Comparison of V-Frog to Physical Frog Dissection. Lalley et al. (2010)
"I was really impressed with the recent e-mail update on the victory that SAVE THE FROGS! has won in soliciting schools in the USA to do away with frog dissection programmes. Congrats to the schools that have reasoned and seen the need to save the frogs by abandoning the traditional dissection programmes to opt for Digital Frog 2.5. I commend the good work that Save the Frogs, Animal Welfare Institute and Digital Frog International are doing; please keep it up. I would suggest, if resources and logistics permit, the programme of sensitizing schools to do away with real frog dissections and opting to digital alternatives should be extended beyond the US borders since there are also many frogs out there which are being destroyed in dissections."
--Ignas Safari, Masters Student, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
"STF, u rock! It is ignorance that propels the human race to use and abuse animals. We must teach tolerance and compassion for all animals, and this will not be an easy task. But it will be done, eventually."
-- Carlynn White; Los Angeles, CA
"Dear Sir, I am studying at Aga Khan Higher Secondary School Pakistan and today around 200 frogs were brought for the dissection purpose kindly tell me what should I do." -- Sehrish Shiraz
In this dissections paper, Elizabeth Hinson uses logic to conclude that raising frogs for dissection purposes, and present-day frog trade for dissection purposes are contributors to the decline in frog populations.
"I'm from Puerto Rico, but I am the amphibian conservation biologist at the Philadelphia Zoo. In places like Quito, Ecuador and Lima, Perú, school teachers routinely ask students to search for large frogs for 'monday's anatomy class' and kids go to fields near the city to harvest frogs. This practice is atrributed as one of the cause of decline in Rhinella limensis in Perú and Gastrotheca riobambae in Ecuador, which where somewhat common in urban environments in the 60's but have all but disappear now... it is a sad practice that has to be regulated and ideally stopped. With so much access to technology, it is a shame that we still have to kill life in order to study life!"
Thanks to these groups for helping us get dissections out of schools!