UGC may ban dissection of animals in varsities

Nov 24, 2011, 08:39 IST | A correspondent
Taking note of findings by animal rights activists, University Grants Commission to send recommendations to educational institutions to enforce ban across India

Soon undergraduate science students will no longer be required to dissect animals, while dissection will be made optional for postgraduate university students. This has come after the University Grants Commission (UGC), the apex regulatory body for higher education in India, published official recommendations on its website ( calling to ban animal dissection and animal experimentation in universities, zoology courses in college and life sciences courses.

For the love of animals: About 19 million animals are used for
dissection every year, say animal rights activists. Representation Pic

Activists intervene
The UGC will send these recommendations to teaching institutions across India for implementation. The recommendations have been imposed after several animal rights activists and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), by their extensive campaign that included letters to the expert committee of the UGC and petitions from students, urged the commission to save about 19 million lives that come under the knives every year.

In addition, universities will be informed that they must adhere to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which prohibits the killing of amphibians and certain insects.
Dr BK Sharma, UGC member of the expert committee, said, "The recommendations also call for modern non-animal systems like software to replace the use of animals for experimentation. This will save millions of lives."

Students reluctant
The UGC panel of experts has agreed with the findings in nearly every published education literature, computer simulations, CDs, films, and charts. Research has shown that a significant number of students are uncomfortable with the idea of experimentation and dissection of animals, and some even turn away from scientific careers for this reason.

Computer models
"By eliminating animal dissection and experimentation, the university governing body is making sure that students use computer models over animals," said PETA India Science Policy Advisor Dr Chaitanya Koduri.

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