For Immediate Release:
30 August 2018
Dr Dipti Kapoor; [email protected]
Garima Jain; [email protected]
Animals Will Suffer in Deadly Classroom Experiments Under New Curricula That Apparently Violate Animal-Protection Laws and Environment Ministry Directive
New Delhi – In a letter sent to the Medical Council of India (MCI) today, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India condemned the agency’s recently updated postgraduate curricula, under which countless rabbits and other animals will be forced to endure seizures, mutilations, suffocation, severe blood loss, and other cruel or deadly procedures. The group called on MCI to remove the use of all animals from the postgraduate medical curricula, in accordance with existing law and a Ministry of Environment and Forests directive.
MCI’s revised postgraduate syllabi in medical pharmacology and physiology recommend replacing tests on dogs, cats, and amphibians with computer-assisted simulation models but still permit invasive and deadly experimentation on rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, and mice. In the letter, PETA India points out that using animals in such classroom experiments is an apparent violation of the 2012 directive of the then Ministry of Environment and Forests, which mandates the “discontinuation of dissection and animal experimentation” for postgraduate medical training. Furthermore, the group states, that by allowing the use of animals for hands-on student training, MCI is apparently violating subsections 17(2)(d) and (f) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which require, respectively, that experiments on animals be “avoided wherever it is possible” and that they not be “performed merely for the purpose of acquiring manual skill”.
“Studies show that students taught using non-animal methods demonstrate superior understanding of complex biological processes, increased learning efficiency, and better examination results,” says PETA India Science Policy Adviser Dr Dipti Kapoor. “PETA India is urging the Medical Council of India to enact a comprehensive ban on all use of animals for postgraduate medical courses in favour of more effective, ethical, and economical non-animal methods.”
PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – notes that the use of animals for teaching purposes in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses has already been ended by the University Grants Commission, the Pharmacy Council of India, and the Dental Council of India. MCI itself has ended animal use in undergraduate medical education.
After being contacted by PETA India, distinguished Member of Parliament and former Health Minister Shatrughan Sinha sent a letter to MCI President Dr Jayshree Mehta on 2 July 2018 urging her to ban all animal dissection and experimentation in the teaching of postgraduate medical courses in favour of using superior and humane non-animal methods. In the letter, Sinha points out that such alternatives include cost-efficient computer-assisted teaching, clinical exercises, and human-patient simulation technology – training techniques that are already used in top medical schools worldwide. PETA India also wrote to the Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda, on 30 January 2018 urging him to amend the Postgraduate Medical Education Regulations, 2000, to remove the use of animals for training.
PETA India’s letter to MCI and its letter to the Minister of Health & Family Welfare are available upon request. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.