Science students can now opt out of doing animal dissections

If the State Board of Education has its way, students won't have to dissect animals in their science classes if they have moral or religious objections or other reasons. The State Board adopted the policy in May and has since gained strong support from the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). 

The Board is encouraging K-12 districts to put their own policy in writing that lets students complete an alternative activity-like an interactive computer program-to the dissection. No school district is obligated to follow the Board's suggestions.

Michigan has joined 21 states and Washington, D.C. allowing students to opt out of animal dissections. PETA is offering free training to help the state's science teachers become familiar with computer-based dissection programs.

A teen survey by AnimalLearn showed that 86 percent of students want an option to use alternatives to dissection. AnimalLearn , dedicated to promoting animals, ethics and education, provides advice to students, parents, and educators on how to promote such a movement in their schools.