Dissection of insects and frogs in science laboratories in educational institutions could soon become a thing of the past with the Ministry of Environment and Forests asking UGC to explore options to end the practice.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has set up an expert committee to suggest an alternative module after the ministry insisted that such practices be stopped in view of the cruelty inflicted on animals and insects.

“We have set up a committee under Prof H A Ranganath, chairman of National Accreditation and Assessment Council. The committee will look into an alternative module for experiments in science labs,” UGC Secretary R K Chauhan said.

He said animal rights activist and BJP MP Maneka Gandhi had earlier raised the issue before the UGC and suggested the names of a few experts who should be consulted on the matter.

“Those experts will now put their views before the Ranganath committee,” he said.

Cockroaches, frogs and earthworms are some of the common animals and insects used for dissection during zoology experiments in colleges and universities.

The committee is expected to submit its report by next month. The UGC will then issue guidelines to the colleges and universities for implementation.

The committee will look into the possibility of conducting the lab experiments in a virtual world. It can be done in computers without using animals, experts feel.

The other members of the committee are S Balasubramaniam, Director of DRDO Centre for Life Sciences at Bharathiar University in Coimbatore, Sunil Chhumber of AIIMS, Roop Lal, Department of Zoology of Delhi University, and a nominee of Director General of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).