An acute shortage of frogs and other live specimens for dissection in academic purpose has left many educational institutes across India to go digital with the entire dissection procedure. They have found digital dissection procedures realized through customized education softwares, to be their saviour in the current state of crisis in biological specimens.
It has been alleged that the amphibian and rodent population of the country is on a rapid decline owing to the extensive laboratory use of such animals. The reports though have not been supported or proven from any quarters. Hence colleges have happily taken to digital dissection which provides education without costing precious lives of animals.
Not long ago UGC had approved the digital dissection of animals as subsidiary procedures for real manual dissection holding them both to be equivalent in all respects. The colleges and schools going for digital dissection are thus finding it a good alternative as it saves both money and effort. The CDs distributed by educational software developers cost much lesser to what live specimens would have cost. Moreover the messy and troublesome dissection procedures have become cleaner and hygienic exercises in all respects.
PETA has said, “We are against the slaughtering of animals for the sake of enriching man’s knowledge of biology and hence we have endorsed such digital procedures for long. The problem with the implementation is that the education system as well as the institutes takes a long time to amend their system to induct the digital dissection procedure.”
There are many companies which manufacture and market such softwares like InterNICHE which alone has sold more than 20,000 copies of CDs and DVDs in India. The software Pro Dissector Frog is a runaway favourite among the students who find it user friendly and exceedingly beneficial for their educational course.
The pharmacology sector too has showed keen interest in such softwares as they too need such dissection and other biological procedures during their educational course. The companies also provide specialized softwares for pharmacological demands which have assisted the students a lot till yet.
Many experts too are of the opinion that the live specimen dissections should be phased out from academic courses for many reasons. Not only will it help the preservation of animal species in the wild but it will also help the ouster of unnecessary processes in the curriculum. After all until the graduate levels, the necessity of live biological dissections is not as mush compared to the requirements of graduate courses.
“Many of the students who practise dissection of live specimens is not going to become biologists in the future as mostly will go for other courses where the knowledge of dissection becomes a futile waste of time and life. It better to do away with such measures and take up digital dissection which is much beneficial at their levels,” feels Dr. A K Sharma, a biologist by profession.
Contrary beliefs also point out that the students who learn dissection by digital means will never get the real knowledge of knowing about the animal’s internal details. The generation of students with only virtual knowledge about dissection will not be a benefit in the long run as comprehensive knowledge can be attained only by real means and never by virtual ones.