UGC spells out steps to phase out dissection

UGC spells out steps to phase out dissection

 The UGC has suggested that the institutions resort to computer-simulated models in the long run. However, no deadline has been specified to put the guidelines to effect.
The commission has also advised educational institutions to use “laboratory-bred animal models”  until dissection of living animals is completely phased out. However, according to a UGC official, the medical courses have been kept out of the guidelines’ ambit.

The UGC move comes following recommendations of an expert committee headed by National Assessment and Accreditation Council Director H A Ranganath, former V-C of Bangalore University. The committee had favoured discontinuation of dissection “in a phased manner” and suggested a “road map” for it.

Among various recommendations for both under-graduate and post-graduate courses, the panel suggested reduction in the number of animals that are dissected in the laboratories. The guidelines have also sought every higher educational institution running courses on zoology and life sciences to constitute a dissection monitoring committee (DMC) with head of the department concerned as the convener and chairperson.

“All educational institutions coming under the purview of the UGC shall prescribe laboratory curriculum involving animals in such a way to be compassionate with the animals, avoid experiments on animals wherever possible and use alternatives,” said the guideline.

The DMC will also ensure procurement of animals for dissection and experiments from “ethical sources,” apart from arranging a stress-free transportation to the laboratories. Further, the animals should be anesthetised properly before being dissected.

The institutions will be required to maintain appropriate records of procurement of animals, number of animals used and use of anaesthesia. The records will be scrutinised by the DMC, the guidelines added.

However, the guidelines have deprived the prospective zoologists at the undergraduate level of their share of the pie. According to the guidelines, the undergraduate students will not be required to perform the dissections. In case the curriculum board opines to expose the students to internal organisation of animals, one particular animal species that can be bred or cultured on a large scale is to be used.