Animal ethics advocated in curriculum

Here are some of the UGC guidelines:

Recommendation 1:

All institutions of higher education to strictly adhere to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

All educational institutions coming under the purview of UGC shall prescribe laboratory curriculum involving animals in such a way as to be compassionate with the animals, avoid experiments on animals wherever possible, and use alternatives in their place, experiments on animals are not performed merely for the purpose of acquiring manual skill, and not to use animals protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, particularly frogs belonging to genus Rana and any elasmobranch fish, in laboratory exercises. Further, “Animal Ethics” should be included as a chapter in an appropriate course of study.

Recommendation 2:

All institutions of higher education will constitute “Dissection Monitoring Committees” to look into the use of animals.

Recommendation 3:

For both UG and PG programmes, there shall be reduction in the number of animals for dissection and experimentation as well as in the number of species with all ethical considerations. Preference shall be given to laboratory-bred animal models.

This recommendation will be largely applicable only to animal use in experiments excepting for ethical treatment of animals. Removal of animals from their natural habitats should be best avoided.

Recommendation 4:

For UG: ‘Only one species' to be adopted for ‘demonstration only' by the faculty and ‘students should not do any dissection.'

The Curriculum Board, if of the opinion that these students should be exposed to internal organisation of animals, may prescribe anatomy of any one animal species which can be bred/cultured on a large scale. Here, the teachers shall only demonstrate the dissection of one or more aspects of anatomy, which the students will observe and record.

Coming to the examination, if at all found necessary, the students may be required to flag label specific parts in the specimens already dissected by the teachers and kept ready.

The examination here will be more oriented towards knowledge component rather than skill development. If animal anatomy is emphasised, the laboratory learning may make use of plastinated dissected specimens and/or digital alternatives, which are now available from commercial sources in plenty, such as ProDissector Frog, BioLab Frog, DigiFrog, Dissection Works, and so on, information about which is available on the websites.

Recommendation 5:

For PG: Students shall have the option to perform dissection of ‘selected species' as per the curriculum or to have a project related to biodiversity/biosystematics, etc.

The PG students may be required to learn physiology and such other subjects in the laboratory using computer simulation learning devices and avoid use of animals in experiments and, thus, their removal from the wild for this purpose.

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