New Delhi – Every year around 1,000 calves are killed in India to teach veterinary anatomy and surgery to students because of which thousands of frogs, rats, guinea pigs, and rabbits die.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, government advisory body Animal Welfare Board of India are taking initiative to change the way students are taught veterinary science in India.
It will help to introduce computer simulation, require an ethically sourced body-donation program to be set up, and call for other humane teaching methods to be used.
During the practical session, "Dissection will be carried out on cadavers procured by way of donation of animals or animals obtained from post-mortem section and the donated animals should be either incurable or in terminal stages and prossected specimens should be used. Within one year each college must setup a body donation programme or wild body programme. Computer simulations software's, models, mannequins, plastinated specimens, preserved body organs, models should be used for better understanding of the subject".
For pharmacology practical sessions, "Simulated animal experiments should be preferred over use of live animals. The lab for simulated experiments should be established within a span of one year".
Apart from the regulations, internship training will be provided to the students from six months to one year which will help the students to gain practical knowledge.
"PETA commends the Veterinary Council of India for working towards ending cruel uses of animals to teach veterinary science and fixing a common deadline for veterinary colleges to set up humane methods", says PETA India's director of veterinary affairs, Dr Manilal Valliyate.
He added, "Veterinary students who want to dedicate their lives to alleviating animal suffering want to attend classes knowing that they won't cause an animal to suffer."
A survey conducted by PETA India among the final year students of Bombay Veterinary College in 2013 revealed that 63 per cent said procedures such as terminal surgery and practicing painful techniques on living animals causes distress and takes a profound psychological toll on students, 69 per cent suggested that there should be a policy allowing conscientious objection by students to the use of live animals in favour of more modern humane techniques, 73 per cent agreed that willed or ethically sourced body donations are effective replacements for killing healthy calves for anatomical studies, and 65 per cent believed that non-harmful teaching methods such as simulation software, models, manikins, etc, are as effective as those achieved by animal use.