Raveendran R. Alternatives to animals in teaching: Experience in an Indian medical school. Paper presented at: The Three Rs - Together it's possible. 8th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences; 2011 Aug 21-25; Montreal, Canada


In the 1990s, the practical classes in pharmacology for the undergraduate medical course in JIPMER, Pondicherry, India included 15 animal experiments. It was mandatory for students to carry out animal experiments to pass the final examination. With the advent of the new curriculum prescribed by the Medical Council of India (MCI) in 1997, the number of animal experiments was reduced to seven. CAL software on the effect of drugs on dog blood pressure was developed in-house and introduced into the course, and it replaced the use of dogs completely. A set of clinical pharmacology exercises was also introduced as alternatives. As the feedback from students was encouraging, a few more computer simulated experiments developed in-house were introduced to replace some more animal experiments. At present, five live animal experiments and two computer simulated animal experiments are conducted. The MCI in 2010 clarified that animal experiments can be replaced with suitable alternatives. This paved the way for complete replacement of animal experiments in teaching but due to difficulties in implementing the alternatives, the pace of replacement is slow. Our department has developed, distributed and used CAL packages from the late 1980s and set up a CAL laboratory in the last decade. It is expected that with the impending revision of the medical curriculum by the MCI, all animal experiments will be replaced soon. The results of a survey conducted among the teachers on the usefulness, acceptance and barriers with respect to the use of alternatives to live animal experiments will be presented. 

Author's contacts: ravee@gmail.com

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Link to journal: ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation