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UGC panel bans animal dissection in undergraduate courses

New Delhi: 2/7/2010: Dissection of animals by zoology and life science students at the undergraduate level will be completely stopped, a University Grants Commission (UGC) committee has decided. PETA India had come up with a similar demand lately.

Panel bans animal dissection in undergraduate courses

"The move will save the lives of thousands of animals," B.K. Sharma, a member of the UGC Core Expert Committee to consider discontinuation of dissection of animals in zoology/life science courses in Indian universities and colleges, told IANS.

The committee, at ts meeting earlier this week, decided that dissection of animals by students at undergraduate level will be stopped completely while it will be limited to one or two species at the postgraduate level.

The committee was constituted by the human resource development ministry and the UGC in January 2010.

The committee's recommendations come as the practice of dissection has been widely criticized and questioned across the world.

According to rough estimates, the total number of undergraduate students in our country exceeds 1.5 million. "If the students use on an average two animals, the move will save almost 18 million animals per academic session," Sharma said.

The postgraduate students will be given an option to chose between 'biodiversity' or 'live zoology' as a part of their curriculum, limiting the number of dissections.

"These recommendations will save a huge amount of money currently being spent on the purchase of animals every year by the universities and colleges for dissection. It will also help in destroying the nexus between institutions of higher education and the catchers, killers and suppliers of dead and live animals," he added.

The committee has recommended the use of modern techniques like models, multimedia computer-based simulators, mannequins and virtual labs for educating the students on animal anatomy.

"These modern tools are humane and have proved much better than hands-on use of animals and replace the use of animals for dissection exercises," Sharma said.

The committee is now preparing the blueprint for implementing the recommendation in colleges and universities across the country.

"A nation-wide plan to get the ban implemented state-wise in India is being prepared. Rajasthan is expected to be totally free from dissections during the coming academic session," he added.

Dissection of animals was introduced in the 1920's in life science education education. The practice has come under criticism all over the world for its necessity, relevance and value for teaching purposes in life sciences, especially Zoology.