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To learn medical science, the students of three medical colleges will no longer have to crudely dissect the dead animals, whose anatomy they can examine now on simulators.
The animal simulators, known as the Elsevier's Animal Simulator education software, have been given by PETA to the Department of Pharmacology at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh, Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College Kangra in Tanda, Himachal Pradesh and Indira Gandhi Medical College in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
Ahead of International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said that the move will also help in conserving biodiversity.
"PETA India is pleased to announce that many students will now have the opportunity to learn medical science through methods that do not involve crudely cutting into dead animals and also help to conserve biodiversity," a statement by PETA said.
The animal simulator is a locally developed computer- assisted learning tool that is designed for undergraduate and postgraduate students of medicine and pharmacology, and it can replace the use of animals to train the students.
Elsevier has also committed to donating software to more institutes through PETA India in the future.
Noting that population of frogs in India has plummeted in recent years, it said that to help prevent such biodiversity loss and to give students higher-quality education, the University Grants Commission (UGC) prohibited the use of animal dissection in life sciences and zoology courses.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) has also refused to allow the use of animals to train undergraduate students - favouring modern, non-animal techniques instead, it said.
"PETA India has since been on hand to assist institutions with the transition to sophisticated, non-animal teaching methods, including by donating simulation software," it said.
Comparative studies have repeatedly shown that non-animal teaching methods - including computer simulations, interactive CD-ROMs, films, charts, and lifelike models - are more effective for teaching biology than crude, animal-based ones.
"By providing students with the means to learn science with humane, modern, animal-free methods, these institutions are offering a more effective and far superior education while protecting wildlife and other animals.
"Students of medicine want to save lives, not be part of taking them away," said PETA India Science Policy Adviser Rohit Bhatia.