Harvard prof asks MCI to replace classroom use of animals with simulation technology

September 25, 2018

A Harvard professor has written to the Medical Council of India (MCI), urging it to replace the “cruel classroom use of animals” with cutting-edge simulation technology, animal rights body PETA said on Monday.

According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Professor John Pawlowski, who has been on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School since 1987, wrote to MCI president Jayshree Mehta stating that postgraduate medical students should receive training with the help of “academically superior, widely available and cost-effective” simulation technology.

Pawlowski is co-director of the school’s pharmacology course and has designed hundreds of simulation scenarios.  “After hearing from PETA India, Pawlowski wrote to MCI President Jayshree Mehta asking her to ensure that postgraduate medical students receive the best training possible by fully replacing cruel and deadly classroom use of animals with cutting-edge simulation technology, which, he states, is academically superior, widely available and more cost-effective,” the statement said.

“Technology has advanced, and it is time our teaching methods did, too. That is why the world’s top medical schools – including Harvard, Duke and Yale – rely on pedagogically superior technology such as computer-assisted learning, clinical exercises and human-patient simulation technologies instead of animals to train postgraduate medical students,” Pawlowski said in the letter.

“I encourage you (Mehta) to fully replace the use of animals in classroom experiments during postgraduate medical courses and take advantage of the many benefits that sophisticated humane learning tools provide,” the letter said.

PETA India said the MCI’s recently revised postgraduate syllabus bans the use of dogs, cats and amphibians in medical pharmacology and physiology courses, but still permits invasive and deadly experiments on rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and mice.   It also includes forcing them to endure seizures, mutilations, suffocation, severe blood loss, exposure to harmful radiations and other cruel procedures.  The animal rights body condemned the new syllabus and urged the MCI to remove the use of all animals from the postgraduate curricula, in accordance with existing law and a central government directive.

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