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India To Cut Out Animal Dissection

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the use-every-part-of-the-computer dept.

Science 145

ananyo writes "Squeamish science students in India might not have to grapple with cutting up rats or frogs for much longer. The University Grants Commission (UGC), the national body in New Delhi that funds and governs Indian universities, announced new rules earlier this month that would phase out almost all animal dissection and replace it with teaching using computer simulations and models."

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Oh just great (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436722)

Bad enough my doctor's English is for shit, now the last words I get to hear before the anesthesia kicks in is "What the hell is THAT?!?" in a thick accent.

Re:Oh just great (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436792)

Bad enough my doctor's English is for shit, now the last words I get to hear before the anesthesia kicks in is "What the hell is THAT?!?" in a thick accent.

If you have rat or frog organs in you, you might have bigger problems to worry about.

Re:Oh just great (1, Troll)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437868)

Rat and frog organs are homologous with human organs, that's why it's so easy to remember different animals' anatomies ones you've learned one. (Though there are quirks, like a horse's hooves bein homologous to middle fingernails...)

Of course, anti-evolution fanatics try to keep such convenient shortcuts from being learned because it infringes on their "faith".

Re:Oh just great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38438182)

Bad enough my doctor's English is for shit, now the last words I get to hear before the anesthesia kicks in is "What the hell is THAT?!?" in a thick accent.

If you have rat or frog organs in you, you might have bigger problems to worry about.

That would probably explain the exclamation.

Re:Oh just great (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436810)

If he's asking that while you're still conscious you're already in trouble...

Re:Oh just great (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436836)

First off, it's nice to see that after years of walking the fine line you've finally crossed over into overt racism. Kudos on that.

Now more to the point, this ban is in regards to dissecting animals in biology classes. Since doctors will continue to have to dissect a cadaver while in medical school, and I'm assuming you are not actually a rat or a frog, this shouldn't really affect you.

Re:Oh just great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437874)

First off, it's nice to see that after years of walking the fine line you've finally crossed over into overt racism.

I'll bet you wear a Che t-shirt.

Re:Oh just great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436856)

Bad enough my doctor's English is for shit, now the last words I get to hear before the anesthesia kicks in is "What the hell is THAT?!?" in a thick accent.

Serves you right then for being a racist

Re:Oh just great (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437064)

Serves you right then for being a racist

Acknowledging that you can't understand someone through a thick accent doesn't make you a racist. I'd say the same thing about the staff at call centers in the Southeastern US - Can't understand a damned word they say. Nothing "racist" about it, purely a practical matter.

That said, this FP does have an interesting hint of racism inherent in it - We have a bunch of Americans cheering the end of a "barbaric" practice, just after having filled their bellies with the charred but otherwise neatly-dissected corpses of a variety of animals. Sublime.

Re:Oh just great (2)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437222)

McDonalds hamburger hardly qualifies as neatly-dissected...

-- Cheering American

Re:Oh just great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437660)

Remembers me of that woman attacking me for killing and disemboweling (dunno the correct English word) a animal I had hunted, caught and fought with my bare hands in a fair fight.
"How can you do such a cruel thing? I buy my meat at the supermarket, where no animal is harmed!"

I should have disemboweled her right there where she stood.

I wonder if she would manage to kill what she likes to eat.
And I think it should be the law that you must kill yourself what you want to eat. Maybe then we wouldn't have such far-from-reality idiots out there.

Re:Oh just great (1)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437830)

The right english word you're looking for, by the way, is "dressing." As in, "killing and dressing an animal."

(I know, I know, "dressing" to mean "take the fur off and throw the stomach out" makes absolutely no sense. As a fellow "I didn't learn English as my first language" person, I sympathize)

Re:Oh just great (1)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438112)

or alternately, and probably more common, "cleaning."

Re:Oh just great (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38439116)

Unless it's a fish.

Then you gut it.

Re:Oh just great (2)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38439994)

People create euphemisms for things they don't like to think about.

Re:Oh just great (0)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437310)

Acknowledging that you can't understand someone through a thick accent doesn't make you a racist.

Implying that every Indian doctor have a thick accent is racist though.

Re:Oh just great (3, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437964)

Implying that every Indian doctor have a thick accent is racist though.

Well, most every stereotype comes about due to a good bit of truth pervasive to those involved with the stereotype.

It is hardly racist to be observant.

Re:Oh just great (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437942)

Eating animals is more associated with survival. Dissecting animals is more associated with serial killers. Still those in the healthcare field get to see some shit in their days, dissecting a frog probably isn't what burns in most of their memories.

Re:Oh just great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436976)

Why don't you go to a doctor whose English is not shit and does not have a thick accent? Cool racism bro.

Re:Oh just great (1, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438280)

Why don't you go to a doctor whose English is not shit and does not have a thick accent?

Because the American doctor is lazy

Re:Oh just great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437200)

Is anyone forcing you to go to this doctor if you cannot stand him and his English ??

He got there by years or hard work and having a superb brain, both of which you lack.

Re:Oh just great (2, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438040)

Is anyone forcing you to go to this doctor if you cannot stand him and his English ??

He got there by years or hard work and having a superb brain, both of which you lack.

Well, a lot of it is also due...to in past years, having medical schools actively seeking and bringing in foreign and female students, to fill quotas.

For a good while there, they would bring in a female or minority over a white male even if the white male was the clear winner with respect to qualifications. For a while, it got fairly difficult for a white male to get into med school, and hence...you have a lot of doctors today that are female, but also many foreign ones that you have difficulty understanding.

To counter this...med schools are now actively seeking white males to balance things out again.

This was happening a lot a bit over a decade ago...

Re:Oh just great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38438984)

And how is this the foreign doctors fault? Market dictates that you learn to understand how they speak. Is that so difficult?

anyway soon you might be learning chinese.

Re:Oh just great (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38440212)

Well, a lot of it is also due...to in past years, having medical schools actively seeking and bringing in foreign and female students, to fill quotas.

That's not the entire story. The main issue is that the American Medical Association is artificially limiting the number of new medical degrees (and therefore the number of seats in Med schools) that are being given out.

Luckily, they haven't been able to prevent foreign Medical Doctors from coming to the United States, studying here, and getting re-certified for the United States, but even that's not helping much. The United States has one of the lowest density of Medical Doctors per thousand people in the Western World, even if you do include all those re-certified foreign Medical Doctors.

For instance, France has twice the density of Medical Doctors per thousand (although, I do realize that's not exactly a fair comparison, since the French government essentially pays for its doctors education, although they do artificially limit and set the Doctor's wages which should drive that number down as well, but unfortunately that's the only comparative figure I can remember among western countries).

Here in the United States, we may be against socialism and we may even be for a free (semi-regulated) market of some kind, but we're essentially letting one single union take our country's healthcare system hostage for its own benefit.

Re:Oh just great (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438304)

Is anyone forcing you to go to this doctor

I have a shitty HMO.

Which reminds me, I don't like homosexuals either.

Re:Oh just great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38438630)

well, why dont you change your HMO then? Isnt that all your america's all about? Change? everything you can be? all that?

Otherwise, dont complain, especially if the guy is giving you good care.

Technical skill? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436782)

IMHO, it's no substitution for the technical skill involved in dissections. Do these programs account for the variability in tissues among species? I know that birds have thinner skin than mammals, for example.

Re:Technical skill? (2)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436882)

Well the more important part is human disection. Can a doctor still practice on a cadaver?

Re:Technical skill? (1)

Ravon Rodriguez (1074038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438216)

I would hope so, but even then it'll be quite a leap for a med student who has only ever practiced on simulations to go straight to real cutting on a human cadaver; however, I suppose those who have the knack for it will pick it up quickly, and all others probably shouldn't be doctors, anyway.

Re:Technical skill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38438972)

Actually, while I'm not crazy about dropping all dissections in favor of computer models, I've heard doctors say it's more of a "right of passage" than anything else. The color and texture of a dead human's organs are very different from those of a living human. I've only had my hands in the dead kind so I don't know how true that is.

Re:Technical skill? (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437006)

Not every "science student" needs surgical skills.

And for those who will be surgeons, who knows but that they will soon be operating remotely using a 3-d graphical user interface based on these very models?

Well, let's ask (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436794)

Biologists: Have computer simulations and models advanced to a point where they can replace physical cadavers for studies and training?

Re:Well, let's ask (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436974)

More interetingly, are computer models squishy? This is actually training for general biology - the med-students still get to practice on cadavers - but looking at diagrams doesn't give the same feel for anatomy as something more tactile. It all looks so clean on the drawings.

Re:Well, let's ask (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437130)

It's been done [exelservices.co.uk] more than 40 years ago.

Real vs. Virtual (5, Insightful)

Guppy (12314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437826)

Speaking as a medical school student, I'd say it depends on what you want to study and train the student to do afterwards.

If you are teaching the student using virtual methods, and then measure the student's performance using models and drawings afterwards -- you will probably find that the student's performance is actually higher than that of using real-life cadavers (not surprisingly, because you are training in the same manner as you are testing).

Their ability to regurgitate names for everything everything will probably be better, too. Because all the pieces are nice and discrete. Easy to memorize.

Now, real world bodies are different. In a preserved cadaver, everything is rendered in a few shades of brown/yellow/gray that blur together, (one exception: the gallbladder is a beautiful shade of green). If dissecting something not preserved and alive (or recently alive), smear red over everything (That's how you get stories about surgeons leaving sponges and stuff in bodies. Stuff ends up looking like red blobs sitting among a collection of red blobs).

It's very difficult to learn from a cadaver; A bunch of different structures in the book might just look like one big chunk in the body (cause maybe they're all enveloped and held together by connective tissue). Unlike a piece of designed equipment that needed to be assembled, everything space is stuffed and crammed with something or another, because it probably grew there. Except when it didn't grow there, it grew somewhere else and migrated. And because it was grown and not made, often it's not quite the shape or location that the book says.

As a result, learning to navigate around a body and recognize it's components is a special skill that goes far beyond memorizing those components themselves. There's a lot of reasoning and tracing connections and relationships. You don't just learn things from a cadaver, you learn skills.

Re:Real vs. Virtual (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38440014)

You make an excellent point. For those who have not studied anatomy the reality is that each animal or human is not exactly the same anatomically. In some cases one may find citus inversus in which all the internal organs are inverted (left to right or visa versa. In some cases the inversion is only partial. Likewise cancers and other diseases can greatly distort the size, position, and coloration of internal organs. To complicate matters further, many animals, including humans do not have all their blood vessels or nerves running in the same places. Its often better for physicians to start their training as early in their careers as possible so they can grow accustomed to this reality, rather than confronting it for the first time on an operating table, especially in the cases of cancer where it is extremely important that ALL of the malignant tissue be removed during the course of an operation.

Its all well an good to learn from an idealized model of anatomy that one may find in a computer program or model. However, real anatomy comes with variation that any potential surgeon or biologist needs to become familiar with, lest they wind up removing or studying the wrong organ. The reality is that life is complex, very complex. After a lifetime of studying biology, I never cease to be amazed at how little Biology I really know, as there is far more variation than one could ever imagine to exist. Those who study almost no biology have almost no clue as to what they are talking about. No legislation or software will alter this reality, which is not surprising given that that the mechanisms that control how organisms are organized evolved and undergo a rather complicated ontogeny, rather than simply being made or assembled in heaven's little factories.

Re:Well, let's ask (1)

yerpo (1370359) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438186)

Ask, and be answered. They didn't, not by a long shot. It's not so much a question of training - the couple of laboratory lessons in which a class of students actually does dissecting won't make an anatomist or a physiologist out of anyone. But for me and a few other hands-on people that I know, those couple of hours were one of the most insightful parts of the whole undergrad study of biology. I cannot begin to explain how much more "real" that felt (in every sense of the word), as opposed to listening to abstract summaries of the processes we experienced. We have the same debate in my country, where some people argue that to become a geneticist, you don't have to know how to make a physiological preparation out of a toad's heart and see it respond to a solution of some nerve transmitter antagonist. The disagreement I feel fits into the broader perception of inadequacy of current trends in biology that lean towards reducing all biological processes to molecular level. Sure, machines that churn out DNA sequences are neat, and you don't have to go about killing cute bunnies to do research, but there's only so much you can learn from that. We are talking about the most complex phenomenon that we know - life. To think that a simulation and conjecture from molecules can replace one whole organizational level of it is immature, to say the least. If the dissecting lesson makes a physiologist of only one of that class, that's one badly needed expert more in a field that is rapidly becoming malnourished. And one less in a field that is already oversaturated (plus, those that become geneticists anyway get at least a glimpse of the broader picture).

Re:Well, let's ask (2)

caution live frogs (1196367) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438272)

No.

I have a PhD in Zoology / Evolutionary Biology. I spent years in grad school teaching an undergrad-level comparative vertebrate anatomy lab and a developmental bio lab. I work with MDs and PhDs now in a neuroscience lab. None of the models we have heard of or have tried are in any way a suitable replacement for actual dissections. The times I have tried to teach anatomy with models or predissected specimens... well, let's just say that I wouldn't be willing at this point to take on a PhD student who hadn't ever laid hands on an actual animal, nor would I trust an MD who had never touched a specimen before medical school.

Re:Well, let's ask (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438418)

Unless things have advanced rapidly since four years ago when I was doing my animal physiology class, the answer is "no".

Our school had the option to do dissections digitally if you had a good reason. Watching people do it I can say that it was terribly useless. There's a big difference between the neatness of a digital model and the realities of fluids and membranes and the huge physical variations shown across different individual aninals.

Re:Well, let's ask (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438582)

Biologists: Have computer simulations and models advanced to a point where they can replace physical cadavers for studies and training?

No. Never will, either.

Re:Well, let's ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38439654)

Biologists: Have computer simulations and models advanced to a point where they can replace physical cadavers for studies and training?

No. Never will, either.

Careful with these types of comments. None of us know what is to come and exclaiming that assumption could lead to being wrong...

Re:Well, let's ask (1)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438922)

That question may be about a moot point. Ask any honest medical researcher and they will tell you that Phase 1 Human trials are dangerous. Those are first human trials.

Animals aren't people, testing on animals doesn't tell you what will happen when you try the treatment on people.

Re:Well, let's ask (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38439386)

Biologists: Have computer simulations and models advanced to a point where they can replace physical cadavers for studies and training?

If it were a computer on the operating table instead of a human body, I'd say yes.

Obviously that's not the case, and we likely know what the answer will be from the Biologist now or 50 years from now, regardless of the technology now or then. Porsche has a point with their claim that there is no substitute.

The Answer I'm Getting Here (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38439770)

Farnsworth: Well, as a man enters his 18th decade, he thinks back on the mistakes he's made in life.
Amy: Like the heaps of dead monkeys?
Farnsworth: Science cannot move forward without heaps!

Re:Well, let's ask (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38440020)

I get the impression that human cadavers are still ok to dissect.

I fear this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436804)

Once an animal is no longer useful, there is no one interested in breeding them and our failure at protecting their natural environments eventually leaves them extinct

Re:I fear this (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437194)

Interesting, but I think once a habitat is destroyed, dependent species are already effectively extinct. Even if we kept growing the creatures in labs/zoos, they wouldn't be viable outside, so the species would still be as dead as Latin.

Mechanics next (2)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436824)

Automobile students, squeamish about getting grease on their fingers, are clamoring to have their hands-on experience replaced by computer simulations. Heaven help us when the airplane industry does the same.

Re:Mechanics next (2)

SFtheWolf (2533438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436888)

Automobile students, squeamish about getting grease on their fingers, are clamoring to have their hands-on experience replaced by computer simulations. Heaven help us when the airplane industry does the same.

I know right? Designing airplanes and training pilots using computer simulations is unthinkable.

Re:Mechanics next (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437842)

You do know that they still make physical mockups of the airplane designs and put them in actual wind tunnels before they start mass producing them. right? And a pilot needs a certain amount of actual flight time before they are given a pilots license.

Re:Mechanics next (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438900)

No, but would you any pilot who only trained via simulation?

Re:Mechanics next (3, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436940)

Not every "automobile student" wants to make a living as a greasemonkey. I took automotive classes just because I wanted to understand how they worked.

My favorite part turned out to be physics and chemistry, and today I'm an engineer with little need for coveralls or gojo.

Re:Mechanics next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38439018)

"Not every "automobile student" wants to make a living as a greasemonkey. I took automotive classes just because I wanted to understand how they worked."

Interesting, but does it mean you were/are squeamish about getting grease on your fingers?
Or does it mean people who take automotive classes and do want to make a living as a greasemonkey, could just as well learn from computer simulation instead of from a real car?

Re:Mechanics next (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38439380)

Fine for theory of operation so well and good, but without considerable tactile experience one cannot be an effective "mechanic".

Much of this is because you manipulate parts you cannot see and must rely on "feel" to properly assemble.

Re:Mechanics next (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38439418)

You sound like my brother, he's a Mechanical Engineer and a Material Sciences Engineer, but he can't change a spare tire in an emergency to save his life.

Re:Mechanics next (1)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38439568)

I don't know about you, but I think I'm a better programmer because I can build a PC, and used to be a syadmin.

I can't say that knowing how to make my own cat-5 directly makes me a better coder. However, I know how to make software that sysadmins don't hate, and documentation they can read.

I would think if a mechanical engineer actually serviced a few cars, he or she would be more likely to design a car a mechanical wouldn't mind maintaining then one who only did mechanical simulations.

Re:Mechanics next (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38439324)

Make vehicles who maintenance doesn't REQUIRE considerable hands-on manipulation of objects and sims would work, but at that point there's near-zero need for mechanics.

Even in primitive aircraft, the aircrew actuated controls "remotely" by linkage and cable.

Mechanics are "closer" to the equipment components than operators.

Virtual surgury.... (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436828)

... will give their virtual doctors virtual experience to cure virtual diseases and preform virtual operations.

Hope no one gets a non-virtual disease or has some strange organ issue that doesn't fit the models...

i vote we... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436830)

donate the body of Congress for vivisection study!

Re:i vote we... (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437168)

I don't see how that helps. Pig's physiology differs significantly from that of a human's.

Re:i vote we... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437180)

donate the body of Congress for vivisection study!

They already said they weren't going to dissect rats anymore.

Its about revering life, I think (1)

Brainman Khan (1330847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436868)

The people from India probably have better insight but I bet this stems from their religion that reveres life, Eating meat is a Vice - A huge percentage are vegetarian etc.

Re:Its about revering life, I think (1)

Warlord88 (1065794) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437052)

Religion? Eating meat? Utter nonsense. I know this is Slashdot and no one RTFA, but if you have a claim, you can quickly look it up using the Ctrl-F supercombo key.

India is following a global trend to phase out animal dissection, or to make it voluntary, despite opposition from scientists who say that the experience is impossible to replicate with models.

India’s ban comes after pressure from animal-rights groups such as the Indian arm of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), based in Mumbai, which used Bollywood celebrities in a high-profile campaign to bring college students on side

The fuck? (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436892)

If you're ever going to be a surgeon, there's no replacing dissection. Sorry. They are living on some cloud nine. This is a big snafu in the making. My bet is that the people who made this decision were not practicing surgeons, or perhaps they were some very poor ones better fit for a bureaucratic job rather than an OR job.

Re:The fuck? (3, Informative)

dell623 (2021586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437098)

Who said anything about surgeons, where on earth did you get that from??

If you RTFA you'll see no mention of medical schools. I would hope my surgeon has more experience than having dissected a rat, but that's besides the point.

Thedecision is worrying because it applies to university science students in biology, zoology etc., who should definitely not be squeamish about dissections. However, it has nothing to do with doctors or surgeons or medical schools.

Re:The fuck? (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437188)

Surgeons can practice on their cadavers in med school to their heart's content. As a science student who will never need to dissect a frog in real life, I'm real glad I wasn't responsible for the torture and murder of a sentient living creature.

Re:The fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437346)

I don't understand why the best training for a surgeon wouldn't be to simply watch qualified surgeons performing surgery on humans! What else would be the best way to learn how to dissect? And of course, dissecting cadavers. I think it's pretty pointless dissecting rats and frogs, which are obviously nothing like human beings, the skin thickness, muscle thickness, blood vessels, etc. are all completely different.

Re:The fuck? (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38439454)

I'm thinking of manual agility. I don't know how much cadaver time one normally gets, but from what I've seen it's pretty limited. There is a reason why students practice stitching on chickens, pieces of cloth, etc. As for anatomical differences -- they are fairly minor, on the grand scale of things. If you want to do reconstruction on small blood vessels, a frog is as good as anything -- the scale of larger vessels in a frog will be similar to what you'd have, say, in a severed human finger.

Re:The fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437716)

I think the confusion arises because education system is different in India and US. In India students have to complete 12 years of schooling (called class 12 in India) before they enter college for undergraduate studies. People who study biology in class 12 have to dissect frogs (in some states students have to choose between maths and biology in class 12, other states allow both). I believe class 12 is equivalent to high school in the US. Some states include dissection of frogs even in class 9 and 10 curriculum. I assume the mentioned ban applies to situations like these.

But the whole point... (2)

laughing rabbit (216615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436908)

...is to weed out the squeamish.

Where will that leave us? A bunch of queasy folks standing around waiting for someone with a stronger disposition to step up?

Re:But the whole point... (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437086)

We're talking about general science training here, not medical school. There are plenty of biology jobs that don't involve cutting up cadavers, so there's no pressing need to "weed out the squeamish". Someone working on bioinformatics is probably better served by early familiarity with computer modeling.

Re:But the whole point... (1)

laughing rabbit (216615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437560)

I wasn't thinking about only med students, I was thinking about having a well rounded understanding about what life is and what the living are.

Human cadavers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436916)

True "pros" of various kinds can practice on naturally-decease humans cadavers. At lower levels of study, no need to waste life.

Stop and think (4, Insightful)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436942)

Please, before responding with an idiotic "But how will my doctor know what they are doing?!?!", think about this for more than 2 seconds. The vast majority of students in undergraduate biology classes will never in their lives have to cut open and dissect another animal of any kind, and the knowledge they gain from it could easily be gained by simulation. For the very small minority of students who will require surgical or dissection skills (doctors at vets), there is ample time to get them that specialized experience in their respective graduate programs. This is a good change to focus resources where they will be the most useful.

Re:Stop and think (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437300)

The other point that people are missing is that dissecting an aged, formaldehyde soaked human body is NOT the primary source of anatomical training for surgeons. Gross Anatomy (that's what it's called) is just another first year medical student course done the same way it's always been because it's been done the same way since the 18th century. Further it is a rite of passage (I had to fry my brain with formaldehyde, so do you). Third, anatomy is one of those core courses in Medicine since humans tend to have to be able to describe something before they can go on to understand it. So you have to teach it somehow.

That said, there is little that cannot be taught using textbooks, lectures, computers etc. A medical cadaver neither looks nor feels nor acts like an alive human body, Zombie movies notwithstanding. Yes you learn a lot in gross anatomy (it's on the test, you had better) but there are other ways of learning it. A good video of a surgical procedure is much more realistic than 'ol Fred in the morgue.

Re:Stop and think (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437378)

But then they aren't learning 'biology'...they're playing a computer game. Can you really be said to have learned chemisrry without mixing chemicals? Or physics without testing conservation of momentum? There is a significant disconnect between 'knowing' and 'understanding' that only comes from getting your hands dirty, so to speak. It's the difference between learning 'what' scientists have learned about the world, and 'how' scientists actually go about finding the order within the chaos that is the real world. You just don't, and frankly can't, get that in a simulation.

Re:Stop and think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437722)

They are talking about high school Biology.

I graduated in year 1998 - the year CBSE (the other education board) allowed not dissecting anything. I did dissections up until a week before the exams and the rule changed to allow flower dissection. I was the only person in the class who chose to not dissect an animal (a mouse, as it happened in the exam).
  And since in India medicine is an undergraduate degree, I actually did qualify to do medicine. I chose not to do medicine because I did not do the dissection.

Re:Stop and think (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438308)

This is a good change to focus resources where they will be the most useful.

If there was a shortage of those resources, you'd have a point. Since there isn't, you're just handwaving buzzwords around.

Re:Stop and think (1)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438920)

There aren't a shortage of animals to dissect, I'll give you that. There is, however, a shortage of time and money. Lab quality preserved animals are not cheap, and doing a dissection lab takes a lot more time and effort from professors and their assistants than alternatives.

Analogy time ~~~ (1)

Guppy (12314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438518)

Please, before responding with an idiotic "But how will my doctor know what they are doing?!?!", think about this for more than 2 seconds

Let me use an analogy suitable for Slashdot.

You can learn a lot of about female anatomy from pictures, descriptions, and virtual models. And I'm sure many on this site have studied just materials at great length.

However, such materials are likely to leave you with misconceptions and an incomplete set of knowledge. A real specimen provides features such as 3D viewing and tactile feedback -- all these things will teach you things you would otherwise might not understand (Protip: They do not feel like bags of sand).

The vast majority of students in undergraduate biology classes will never in their lives have to cut open and dissect another animal of any kind, and the knowledge they gain from it could easily be gained by simulation.

So, to continue my Slashdot analogy. Um, Yeah...

Re:Stop and think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38440168)

The vast majority of students in undergraduate biology classes will never in their lives have to cut open and dissect another animal of any kind

What? I dissected a frog in my high school bio class.

This is not a new concept (1)

SFtheWolf (2533438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436948)

I find it amazing that on Slashdot of all places so many people are questioning the very premise of computer simulated training and whether it's a viable analogue of the physical world.

Relevant to Career (2)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437008)

While I do believe that some careers should probably dissect animals (surgeons, veterinarians) I don't see the point in requiring this for everyone. I am just fine with my pharmacist not having cut open dead animals.

Re:Relevant to Career (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437934)

While I agree that some surgeons and veterinarians might not be nice people, I hardly think thats enough cause to call them animals and to dissect them. Chill out man.

Relevant to career CHOICE (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38439406)

High school doesn't teach you a profession, it just shows you all the things you can learn and do. It's better for a student to realize they can't stand dissection in high school than in medical school when they have already chosen to be a doctor.

Blow for medical research (1)

ananyo (2519492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437190)

This is about research. The less experience biology students have in dissecting animals, the more problems they'll have during their PhD and the more problems biotechs and phara companies will have in getting the skills they need to do proper animal experiments and trials with new therapies. So this is a bad move IMO.

Re:Blow for medical research (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438104)

You seem to ignore the huge bridge between high school and PhD. There is plenty of time in between for students to learn that stuff.

There is no point in forcing high schoolers to learn how to dissect an animal if very few will be doctors and vets. IMHO, all the animals spared of useless procedures are well worth it.

Doggone it! (1)

KBehemoth (2519358) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437214)

Back in my day, we had to dissect each other while running uphill to campus in ten feet of snow and manage to sew ourselves back up before roll call. Of course, back then you could buy bread for a nickel and still have five cents left over for malt shakes, and dancing was all proper-like, none of this "flopping" or "dunking" you kids do now, and when I got back from the war I... *snore*

Digital 3D (1)

The-Blue-Clown (1261404) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437230)

http://www.biodigitalhuman.com/ [biodigitalhuman.com] and others could eliminate the first few years of hacking up a body. But in the end, the only way to learn what it looks like is on a cadaver.

I don't want my surgeon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437256)

I don't want my surgeon to be freaked out by the squishy parts, the smell, and to have difficulty with veins and other things that are not in the exact same spot in all patients.

more stupid titles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437352)

"India Chokes Out Domestic Abuse"

"India Goes Nuclear on Atomic Safety"

"India Throws Out Bill to Limit Trash"

"India's Nano Car Driving Out Competition"

Re:more stupid titles (1)

SFtheWolf (2533438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437536)

"India Curries Favour of Local Chefs"

"India Kills New Murder Bill"

"India Pins Down and Rapes the Sex Offender Registration List Until It Bleeds and Is Permanently Traumatized"

Re:more stupid titles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437776)

I like your first one. Moar please

the fuckers (3, Interesting)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437542)

i am an indian and i presently attend college. at school, when i was in 8th class, i was extremely eager to go to 9th class because they had all sorts of frog and cockroach dissection and i was very interested. the fuckers (idiotic peta type people) abolished dissection in middle/high school from that very year :( i never got my chance to do interesting dissections and lost all interest in biology. now i am studying electronics :(
looks like they will make even medical school bland and uninteresting.

Re:the fuckers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437912)

Nothing prevented you from doing your own dissections at home. Quit whining and get back to Kirchoff's laws.

As a biology professor (2)

myc (105406) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437604)

Most students who take an anatomy class at the level that requires animal dissection fall into two categories: those who are interested in an allied health profession (e.g., nursing, physical therapy) and those who are either interested in becoming professional biologists or medical doctors. I think you could make a pretty good case that in both cases, real dissections are an essential part of the students' training. Your average college student is not masochistic enough to take what is typically a course much tougher than a garden variety general education class. I don't know how the education system works in India, but I think the vast majority of biology departments in the US would not be willing to use models exclusive of real dissection. That being said, we do use models to supplement instruction, but these are physical models, not computer-based. Unless 3D displays become radically better and give tactile feedback, I don't see computer dissecting simulations displacing physical models either.

Not correct (1)

br00tus (528477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438696)

This is not correct...I am a Computer Science major, and will be spending my time dissecting the innards of computer servers, not animals. Yet, for my science requirement, I had to do two biology classes - and I've had to dissect both a pig and a frog in one of the labs. This is not long in the past, it was earlier this year, here in the USA. In addition, our labs are rather rushed - the first half is a mini-lecture, and then we have to rush to dissect the animal in the last half, so there's very little I learned that I don't see every Thanksgiving when carving a turkey up.

Insofar as an essential part of my training, I would have been far better served learning what an expressed sequence tag, or some other type of bioinformatics, as opposed to cutting up an animal. All I really learned is when I cut an animal open, I do it a little too hard with the knive and mess up the specimen a little since the lab is rushed. How does this help my knowledge of science? I might not ever even use bioinformatics but at least it is something I might wind up using. Instead I'm cutting up pigs and memorizing dozens of different of fungi species.

It really makes little sense to me to have dissection in high school or college Bio 1xx classes. There are plenty of 200 level, 300 level and grad school classes that can start people who will be majoring (or even minoring) in Biology to do that. This story about it being essential to me sounds like a sales pitchman's banter.

The U.S., last to advance again (1)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38438946)

It seems like other countries are always advancing technologically and socially ahead of the U.S. because conservatives and corporate America hare holding us behind.

Animals aren't people. Animal testing doesn't work. Ask any medical researcher about Phase 1 trials, the first human trials for a new treatment after animal testing.

Moving toward computer modeling is progress for both people and animals.

Since breeding and experimenting on lab animals is big business, the U.S. as with many things will hold onto this outdated practice last.

Froguts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38439186)

I'm in 6th grade right now, and before we dissected a squid last week, we dissected one virtually on this computer program called "Froguts". It was okay, and it was easier to see some of the organs, but dissecting it for real was a MUCH better learning experience. Instead of just pressing buttons and reading prompts, I got to do things that the Froguts simulation completely ignored. While it definitely prepared me for dissecting the real thing, computer simulations of dissections cannot replace the real thing!

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