Giving animal lovers a reason to rejoice, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has set up an expert committee to look into the possibility of banning dissection of animals for zoological experiments in colleges and universities.

The five-member committee will hold its first meeting on January 6. Frogs, cockroaches and earthworms are most commonly dissected species from Class X onwards in science groups.

Constituted at the initiative of Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, it will suggest ways and means to switch from actual dissection of animals and insects for experiments to virtual experimentation with the help of computers.

The committee is chaired by H.A. Ranganath, Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University, and comprises S. Balasubramanian, Director of DRDO Centre for Life Sciences at Bharathiar University in Coimbatore; Sunil Chhumber of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences; Roop Lal, Department of Zoology of Delhi University; and a nominee of the Director-General of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Talking to The Hindu, Dr. Balasubramian said, “I have some ideas which I will discuss during the meeting.”

Mr. Sibal’s initiative came after some pharmacology students drew his attention into the issue.

Animal rights activists have been raising the issue and following a hue and cry raised by them, the Ministry of Environment and Forests came up with a set of guidelines to be following by the institutions and researchers.

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