Science can grow without killing
The University Grants Commission has made a commendable decision in discontinuing laboratory dissection of animals for experimental purposes in life science subjects, particularly zoology. The new order, in which UGC asks the universities and all the funded and non-funded academic institutions to stop lab dissection of animals at the undergraduate level, is estimated to save more than 17 million creatures per academic session, a huge number by all means. In this age of digitally enhanced knowledge of anatomy and morphology, where computer simulations of organ systems and electronic as well as plastinated models of specimens are available, killing animals for the sake of knowledge sounds barbaric and utterly devoid of ethical principle of basic non-violence. The UGC, on its part, has cited its willingness to adhere to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, in addition to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. This ruling is not only a timely intervention to stop merciless slaughter of animals at the altar of ‘education’, it also is a wakeup call for academic institutions to develop more ethically sound and uncompromising models of teaching, without practicing violent methods to do just that. Lab dissection of animals is a crude way of obtaining knowledge, because of which medical schools use human cadavers, yet had no reservation about killing animals, until now. The new order will not only save animal lives but also free up a chunk of grant that could be judiciously reallocated to support college education.