Following Pressure From PETA And MP Maneka Gandhi, University Grants Commission Urges Universities To Crack Down On Dissection

For Immediate Release:
25 February 2014

Mansi Rawal; [email protected]

PETA Says Move Is Good, But Not Good Enough

Delhi – More than two years after the University Grants Commission (UGC) – the apex regulatory body for higher education in India – published official recommendations calling for an end to animal dissection and animal experimentation in university and college zoology and life sciences courses in a phased manner, it has finally taken some action to ensure compliance by sending a letter to universities. The step was taken after numerous appeals from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and MP Maneka Gandhi to the UGC to stop animal dissections and ensure compliance with guidelines issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in January 2012, which call for the UGC to direct learning institutions registered under it to use alternatives to animals in anatomy and other courses and to completely ban their use for dissection in pharmacy and life sciences courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Instead, the UGC has written to universities seeking compliance of the guidelines it issued in 2011, which state that while undergraduate students should no longer be required to dissect animals, professors may dissect one animal for demonstration purposes and dissection is optional for postgraduate students. While this is progress, PETA India points out that the UGC’s recommendations fall short of those made by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2012, which aim to eliminate animal dissection entirely.

“The Ministry of Environment and Forests acknowledged in the guidelines it issued in 2012 that non-animal methods of teaching students, such as computer simulations, are not only available but also superior to the use of animal dissection”, says Dr Chaitanya, PETA India’s Science Policy Advisor. “While we are pleased the University Grants Commission has finally taken a step towards cracking down on animal dissection, until the commission ends animal dissection in every classroom, it is doing students a huge disservice.”

Every year, frogs, mice, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits suffer and die in university laboratories. The findings of nearly every published comparative study in science-education literature shows that non-animal methods – including computer simulations, interactive CD-ROMs, films, charts and lifelike models – teach anatomy and complex biological processes as well as or better than inhumane and archaic animal laboratories.

Because of its inherent cruelty to animals, dissection can deter students from achieving in the sciences. Research has shown that a significant number of students at every educational level are uncomfortable with the use of animals in dissection and experimentation, and some even turn away from scientific careers rather than violating their principles.

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