For Immediate Release:
27 December 2013
Vegetarian Minister of State for Human Resource Development Recognised for Taking Steps to Advance Animal Protection
New Delhi – For using the power and prestige of his office to advocate for the protection of animals, Dr Shashi Tharoor, India’s Minister of State for Human Resource Development, has been named Person of the Year by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India. Tharoor encouraged the director of the National Council of Educational Research and Training to examine PETA’s Central Board of Secondary Education approved Compassionate Citizen humane-education programme for incorporation into its textbooks, and he is also encouraging the use of non-animal methods for teaching students and training teachers.
“We are thankful to Minister Tharoor for his work and for recognising that animals deserve kindness and consideration”, says PETA India CEO Poorva Joshipura. “If there were more government officials like him, India would be a shining example of compassion and progress to the entire world.”
Tharoor’s other efforts to help animals include writing a letter to Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad urging him to implement non-animal methods of teaching in medical courses. In 2012, the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a directive instructing “all the institutes/establishments associated with teaching of medical, pharmacy and other graduate/postgraduate courses in life sciences to follow the [UGC] guidelines for discontinuation of dissection and animal experimentation in the universities/colleges and introduce use of alternatives to animal experimentation ….” Despite this, some universities and colleges still allow professors to use rabbits, rats, guinea pigs and other animals in cruel classroom experiments to train students. In addition, Tharoor urged the National Council for Teacher Education to ban the use of animals, such as for dissection, in training teachers. Tharoor said that the use of animal dissection in teaching at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels is completely avoidable, and the University Grants Commission has already taken up the matter with universities that are teaching life sciences.
Compassionate Citizen offers teachers effective tools to help children understand that animals are feeling, sensitive beings. It has been successfully used in nearly 18,000 private and government schools, reaching 3.6 million children.
And comparative studies have repeatedly shown that non-animal teaching methods – including computer simulations, interactive CD-ROMs, films, charts and lifelike models – are more effective at teaching biology than crude animal-based methods. Because these programmes can be used repeatedly, they also save time and money.
Past recipients of PETA India’s Person of the Year Award are Hema Malini and R Madhavan. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.