Shadab GGHA, Zeeshan MD, Kunnathodi F, Akbarsha MA. Outcomes of efforts of Mahatma Gandhi – Doerenkamp Center (MGDC), India, to replace animal dissections in life science and biomedical science education [abstract]. ALTEX. 2011;28(Special Issue):223. Abstract 215.


Abstract

The Mahatma Gandhi Doerenkamp Center for Alternatives to Use of Animals in Life Science Education was established in July 2009 by the Doerenkamp-Zbinden Foundation, Switzerland, with sensitization and motivation of stake-holders to replace use of animals in education as the principal mission goal. This Center works to achieve excellence in life science education by introducing value-based learning systems. Realizing the removal of countless animals from the wild and subjecting them to the gruesome dissection for purpose of understanding animal anatomy and evolution, the Center has fixed university and college teachers as the principal target group to reach, since they are the ones who decide on the curriculum. The Center conducts localized workshops/seminars for these teachers at different places across the country. Within a very short span of time the Center has organized about 20 such programs. These are one full day programs starting with addresses by a team of academics who are emotionally attached to the concept of alternatives. The participants are told how archaic dissection is as a learning tool, how the large scale removal of animals from their natural habitats can potentially disturb the ecosystem and hamper the biodiversity, how this practice defies the animal protection laws, and how students are turned to become violent towards the animals, etc. The participants are motivated to turn to humane and value-added science education by adopting several alternatives. A momentum and an expectation are built when the participants are given an on-screen demonstration of the various digital alternatives. In the afternoon the participants handle the computer mouse to learn animal anatomy, physiology, etc. The programs culminate in a discussion session where doubts and apprehensions are discussed and students are asked to record their feedback. In light of the enormous success, several universities have already revised their zoology/life science curriculum and the digital alternatives have started finding place in it. This presentation will review the feedback of the participants and the initiative from the regulatory authorities of higher education in India to support the efforts of MGDC in this endeavor.



Author's contacts: gghas.amu@gmail.com

Link to journal: ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation