Every year, millions of animals are unreasonably killed for dissection labs. Though there are no statistics maintained on the use of animals for dissection, estimates are that around 6-12 million animals are killed annually for dissection in the United States alone.
This cruelty to animals prompted a Maryland couple, Bart Taylor and Tara Whittle, to use their PrintrBot 3D printer to print animal models to eliminate the need for real animals for dissection.
The couple has launched a startup, NecropSynth, which is dedicated to creating 3D printed anatomical models for scientific and education purposes. Taylor estimates that each printed rat would cost as little as $2 to $3 while it costs anywhere from $8 to $12 per rat from a biological supply company.
They also plan to make the schematics for the models free for download so that anyone with access to a 3D printer can print their own rats for dissection. To highlight various internal systems, they plan to inject colored gels into the printed bones and muscles.