Teaching: Alternatives to Animal Dissections

Find out about the many ethical options that can be used instead of animal dissections.

Many different tools can be used to teach students that don’t harm any animals including anatomical models, virtual dissections and anatomy apps, augmented reality tools and more!

Some institutes in NZ are utilising alternative methods already — find out more here.

Searchable databases showcase the many options:


There is an enormous variety of animal dissection alternatives. Some are more basic, and others are highly sophisticated and interactive.

Below are some of our favourites!


Some of these imitate animal dissections and mimic the body position of animals and have visible skin flaps.

For example:

More traditional classroom models are usually made from durable hard plastic and have removable organs.

For example:

For a cost effective option, we like the paper dissection models designed by Mel and Gerdy:

  • They have downloadable paper dissection designs that can be printed and then cut out and assembled by students.
  • There are many species to choose from, with licences being valid per classroom/teacher.
  • They even offer sturdy vinyl versions to be used for demonstration by the teacher which can be ordered and shipped from the US.

4D puzzles are designed as toys but we think they are reasonably accurate for teaching and are a fun way to get children engaged:


These can be cut open with a scalpel and fake organs can be extracted. There are two providers for this kind of model, both are US-based.


These include 3D anatomy programs, dissection apps for handheld devices and full-scale virtual reality experiences. For example:


  • Virtualitee is a US-based product. Combined with their T-shirts, the software creates a (simplified) virtual view inside the body (for Android and iOS).
  • zSpace is a US company selling hardware and a wide variety of applications creating an augmented reality learning space.
  • The Merge cube (US-based) lets you hold digital 3D objects you can then interact with. It works together with special glasses and interactive software. The company also has a VR headset that can be used alone or in combination with the cube.

With your help we can end animal experimentation in Aotearoa.