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April 27, 2011

CHANGE TO HUMANE EDUCATION LAW EFFECTIVE JULY 1

ALBANY-School districts must notify students that they don't have to dissect a frog in biology class under a new law effective July 1, 2011. 

The mandatory notice law requires that students and parents be informed that students have the options of performing alternative projects to dissection.

The New York State Bar Association Committee on Animals and the Law has long supported and advocated for this change to the state's Humane Education Law.

"We are pleased that there now is a clear uniform policy to alert students and parents to this choice.  Interactive films and 3-D computer software have proven to be as effective as the dissection itself with no harm to animals," said Committee Chair James F. Gesualdi of Islip.

Former Governor David Paterson signed this amendment to the Humane Education Law into law on August 13, 2010.

The Humane Education Law (Education Law §809) currently mandates that any student who expresses "a moral or religious objection to the performance or witnessing of the dissection of an animal . . . shall be provided the opportunity to undertake and complete an alternative project that shall be approved by such student's teacher" and the student shall not be penalized for performing the alternative project.

Since 2002, the Committee on Animals and the Law has served as a legal resource for humane-related issues pertaining to animals (www.nysba.org/animals). For further information and a list of resources on dissections, visit: www.nysba.org/humaneeducation.

The New York State Bar Association with 77,000 members is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.

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