For Immediate Release:
14 June 2013
Notice Cites Across-the-Board Non-Compliance With Year-Old Directive as Animal Suffering Continues
New Delhi – On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, the New Delhi–based law firm Raj Panjwani & Co has sent a legal notice to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Pharmacy Council of India and the Medical Council of India instructing them to implement the government-directed ban on dissection and experiments on animals in life-science courses and to use modern, non-animal teaching methods instead. In 2012, the MoEF issued a directive instructing “all the institutes / establishment associated with teaching of Medical, Pharmacy and other Graduate / Post Graduate [c]ourses 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 the MoEF directive, some universities and colleges, including the University of Delhi, the University of Calcutta, Himachal Pradesh University and Kerala University of Health Sciences still allow professors to use rabbits, rats, guinea pigs and other animals in cruel classroom experiments to train students. Writes Raj Panjwani & Co in the notice, “We, hereby on behalf of our client, … do hereby call upon you to implement and enforce the directives issued in the attached MoEF circular … by issuing required directions/orders to all institutions/educational institutions in consonance thereof, within four weeks from the receipt of this notice, failing which we have instructions to initiate appropriate legal proceedings, which proceedings shall be at your risk and costs”.
“Students from across India are contacting PETA because they are extremely upset that the ministry ban on the use of animals to train students is not being followed by their institutions”, says PETA India Science Policy Adviser Dr Chaitanya Koduri. “Professors owe it to their students, most of whom abhor cruelty to animals and do not want to dissect, to adhere to the ministerial order calling for humane and superior non-animal teaching methods to be used instead of cruel experiments on animals.”
After receiving information from University of Delhi students who were forced to dissect, PETA and MP Maneka Gandhi filed complaints with the UGC. In March, Mr Ashok K Dogra, Joint Secretary of the UGC, fired off a letter to Dr Dinesh Singh, vice chancellor of the University of Delhi, asking for an explanation on why the MoEF directive has not been followed.
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 programs can be used repeatedly, they also save time and money.
PETA’s legal notice is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.