Animal rights group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) today demanded a ban on dissection in zoology classes in universities and colleges.
It said a central panel comprising experts from University Grant Commission and HRD Ministry have recommended that colleges should reduce animal dissection in zoology and life science courses and work towards implementation of non-animal teaching methods.
Terming it a compassionate first step, PETA’s India campaigner Anuradha Srivastava said that the matter is too urgent to allow animal dissections and experiments to be reduced and phased-out gradually, as recommended by the panel, instead of being immediately eliminated.
Srivastava was referring to the committee formed by the HRD Ministry in January this year which was entrusted with the task of deciding whether dissection should be discontinued in zoology classes and life science courses in Indian universities and colleges.
She said a teaching system that relies on animal models is destructive for animals, the environment and students.
“We encourage the UGC to call for a complete and immediate ban on animal dissection and experimentation in our nation’s colleges at all levels,” she said.
PETA and other animal rights organisations have been favouring non-animal teaching methods that are available and are superior to the use of animals in science education such as computer simulations, interactive CD-ROMs, films, charts and lifelike models.
Srivastava said research has shown that a significant number of students at every educational level are uncomfortable with the use of animals in dissection and experimentation.
According to PETA, dissection can put students’ health at risk because formaldehyde — the chemical that is used to preserve animals which are killed for dissection — can cause nausea, headaches and breathing difficulties and has been linked to cancer.