For Immediate Release:
August 31, 2022
Amanda Hays 202-483-7382
New Delhi – The National Medical Commission (NMC) of India has issued new guidelines for its postgraduate pharmacology curriculum, following recommendations from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, which will spare the lives of countless animals in India. The guidelines recommend the use of several non-animal teaching and training methods and no longer make certain routine laboratory experiments on animals mandatory.
Animals are no longer used for undergraduate medical education in India, following a major campaign by PETA India and others. Also, thanks to the NMC’s new guidelines, much of postgraduate teaching and training will no longer involve applying chemicals to animals’ skin or eyes or forcing them to inhale toxic fumes, deliberately infecting them with diseases, or mutilating them, after which they would be killed via suffocation or neck dislocation.
In its letters to the NMC, PETA India pointed out that several Indian medical school studies confirm that non-animal methods are effective at meeting learning objectives, facilitate repeatability of the experiment, improve students’ comprehension of experimental concepts, enhance their retention capacity, and bypass many other issues encountered when experimenting on animals. The group also shared opportunities to replace animal tests with sophisticated, non-animal methods in the guidelines for teaching and training postgraduate pharmacology students.
“The NMC’s new guidelines reflect a growing appreciation that animals should not suffer for experiments, and they also equip today’s students with modern, non-animal teaching tools,” says PETA U.S. Vice President Shalin Gala. “Medical students would benefit more if they developed practical skills using human-relevant techniques and gained experience in clinical rotations. PETA entities look forward to seeing the NMC continue to adapt guidelines to accommodate advances in cutting-edge, animal-free teaching and training methods.”
According to the new guidelines, pharmacology students are now required to learn how to administer drugs by various routes and study the effects of drugs using simulation (computational models), replacing the use of rabbits, rats, and guinea pigs per previous guidelines. For some tests (such as studying drugs affecting memory and brain-coordinated movements), the guidelines recommend the use of human volunteers.
Furthermore, for experiments in which drugs or chemicals are rubbed into animals’ eyes or animals are deliberately infected with diseases, the new guidelines recommend using human-relevant, in vitro and simulation models instead. For practical examinations, the guidelines suggest demonstrating the effects of drugs on and interpreting their results in humans instead of using other animals. The new guidelines also now recommend that students display “knowledge about the utility of computer assisted learning.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.