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Ban dissection in colleges, urges PETA


New Delhi : People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Tuesday urged the University Grants Commission (UGC) to ban dissection in zoology classes in universities and colleges.

The animals rights group along with some scientists and academics recommended that colleges should reduce animal dissection in zoology and life-science courses and work towards the implementation of non-animal teaching methods, according to its India campaigner Anuradha Srivastava.

“For undergraduates, the committee recommended that students should not do any dissection,” Srivastava said, adding that while PETA praises reduction of usage of animals in zoology courses as a positive step, the group believes the matter is too urgent to allow animal dissections and experiments to be reduced and phased out gradually instead of immediately eliminated.

Srivastava was referring to the committee formed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) in January this year which was entrusted with the task to decide whether dissection should be discontinued in zoology classes and life-science courses in Indian universities and colleges.

She said the committee’s recommendation is a compassionate first step.

However, she said, a teaching system that relies on animal models is destructive to animals, the environment and students.

“We encourage the UGC to call for a complete and immediate ban on animal dissection and experimentation in our nation’s colleges at all levels,” she said.

PETA and other organisations have been pointing out non-animal teaching methods that are available and are superior to the use of animals in science education.

“Non-animal systems — including computer simulations, interactive CD-ROMs, films, charts and lifelike models — are generally more technologically advanced than animal-based lessons, and they teach animal sciences more effectively,” he said.

Srivastava said research has shown that a significant number of students at every educational level are uncomfortable with the use of animals in dissection and experimentation.

“Dissection can also put students’ health at risk because formaldehyde – the chemical that is used to preserve animals which are killed for dissection – can cause nausea, headaches and breathing difficulties and has been linked to cancer,” Srivastava added.