‘Non-animal methods proved much more effective and humane'
A staggering 19 million insects and animals belonging to a variety of species will be saved every academic year when the ban on dissection in laboratories for undergraduate and postgraduate is fully implemented. The University Grants Commission (UGC) last month issued guidelines asking the universities to phase out animal dissection in laboratories for experimentation purposes, and instead promote the use of modern technology for the purpose.
More than 2.5 million undergraduate and postgraduate students of Zoology and other branches of life science in the country end up dissecting approximately 19 million animals every academic year. And with emergence of newer branches of life sciences including biophysics, biochemistry and biodiversity, and an increase in the number of educational institutions, the number of animals dissected was also expected to grow substantially in the coming years.
Dissection is not just cruel, it is also antiquated. Studies have shown that non-animal methods teach anatomy and complex biological processes as well as or better than do animal laboratories, and they have proved much more effective and humane.
At the same time, their use will save universities an enormous amount of money compared to the expense of purchasing animals year after year, explains B.K. Sharma, Associate Professor and head of Zoology Department at R.L Saharia Government PG College, Kaladera (Jaipur), Rajasthan. He was a member of the UGC Core Expert Committee that was set up to consider ‘Discontinuation of Dissection of Animals in Zoology/Life Science Education in Indian Universities and Colleges.'
The new guidelines would surely give a death blow to the nexus that is systematically operating between catchers, killers and suppliers of many common and endangered species of animals and academic institutions of the country for many decades, Dr. Sharma told The Hindu.