February 23, 2015 2:23:48 am
While universities across country are busy working towards phasing out dissection from their curriculum, a group of zoologists from Mumbai University along with zoologists from nine other universities in Maharashtra have decided to write to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and HRD Ministry to review its guidelines on dissection according to the Wildlife Protection Act.
At a two-day symposium organised by Mumbai University’s Board of Studies (BoS) in Zoology at Khalsa College in Matunga, the zoologists unanimously decided that they will urge the regulatory body to allow dissection of pests and some species of sharks that do not come under Schedule- I animals, which are protected under the Act.
According to the university’s BoS for Zoology, the guideline issued by UGC in November 2011 was based on the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 sans 2001 amendments. The zoologists from Mumbai University and state universities have claimed that before issuing the guidelines, UGC did not go through the Act entirely and hence gave all animals under the no-dissection rule, even those which do not fall under Schedule-I.
“There was an amendment made to the Act on December 5, 2001, which was not referred to while framing the guidelines. Till July 11, 2001, almost all species of Elasmobranchs (shark and ray) came under protection, however, post December 2001, only 10 species of Elasmobranchs were added under Schedule-I and thus come under protection,” said Prof Vinayak Dalvie, chairman, BoS Zoology, Mumbai University.
These zoologists feel that UGC must consider their suggestions, review the guidelines and bring about minor changes to the guidelines of phasing out dissection by updating it according to the latest amendment in the Act. “There is a need to revisit the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 with reference to the stand taken regarding Scoliodon laticaudus, which is commonly known as dogfish. Dogfish is commonly used for dissection and is not included in the list of the 10 Elasmobranchs protected under the Act,” said Anil Singh, zoologist and co-convenor of the symposium.
The zoologists said, as compared to last 30 years dissections conducted in colleges have reduced by almost 70 per cent even before UGC guidelines were issued. “We have to think rationally for the survival of the subject, which forms the basis of many biology and other health science subjects,” Singh added.
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