At present, the college pays Rs. 100 to buy a single rat that students use for experiments. One experiment requires a minimum of six rats to teach students.

Srinivas College of Pharmacy, Valachil, is considering using software instead of live animals for teaching, said Ramakrishna Shabaraya A., Principal and Director, Convenor, Srinivas College of Pharmacy, Valachil.

Mr. Shabaraya was speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of a seminar on “Advance approaches in experimental pharmacology — ethical justification”, held at the college in the city on Monday.

He said this could help in addressing the ethical issue. “Sacrificing animals can be reduced,” he said. Although he was thinking of getting the software for his college, the money spent on it was justified depending on the number of students who use it. Since the use of the software cost Rs. 35,000 a year, more students from various colleges could use it if it was hosted on “Helinet”, a common network. The university authorities could buy the software.

He said he would discuss the matter with authorities concerned in the university. “I hope university will accept it as it is not a big amount (for the university),” he said.

At present, the college pays Rs. 100 to buy a single rat that students use for experiments. One experiment requires a minimum of six rats to teach students. (They require at least six rats for experiments to get average readings and to avoid drawing conclusions from too few a number of rats). N.A. Madhyastha, CPCSEA Government Nominee, Professor of Zoology and Coordinator, Malacology Research, Poorna Prajna College, Udupi, said while it was not possible to stop experiments with animals, attempts should be made to reduce and refine the number of experiments and to replace animals with simulations.

There were two approaches to the issue of using animals in experiments. One was the utilitarian view that was human-centric and believes that animals were meant to be experimented upon. The second view was that they had a right to survive too. “But there is a via media,” he said.

Varun Gupta, Head of Content — E products, Elsevier South Asia, which as developed a software that could replace animals for experiments and teaching, spoke.

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