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IND: Government calls to stop animal experiments in medical, pharmacy, and other life sciences education

In a letter dated January 13, 2012, the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA), Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India, has called on the Ministry of Human Resource Development – Department of Higher Education, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the University Grants Commission, the Pharmacy Council of India, and the Medical Council of India to discontinue dissection and animal experimentation associated with the teaching of medical, pharmacy and other graduate and post graduate courses in life sciences in the universities and colleges and to introduce the use of alternatives to animal experimentation. It stated that in light of the availability of effective alternatives in the form of CD’s, computer simulations, manikin models, in vitro methods, etc. the use of animals in the existing circumstances is a contravention of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, which states that one duty of CPCSEA is to ensure that “experiments on animals are avoided wherever it is possible to do so; as for example in medical schools, hospitals, colleges and the like, if other teaching devices such as books, models, films and the like, may equally suffice.” 

This letter was written days after the 99th Indian Science Congress, which for the first time presented a plenary session on alternatives in education organized by the Mahatma Gandhi Doerenkamp Center (MGDC) (see Conference Report, p. 216 and follows the publication of guidelines on the replacement of animal experiments in anatomy, physiology, and ecology issued by the University Grants Commission in late 2011.

When this demand is achieved, India may be the first country to abolish animal experiments and dissection from tertiary education worldwide.


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