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PETA is offering to sponsor software that allows students to learn animal biology without having to dissect frogs. Virtual Frog Dissection will be offered for free to schools and colleges in India that commit to phasing out the use of real animals in labs.
The program developed by Emantras allows students to ‘dissect’ a frog virtually with full use of dissection instruments including pins, scalpel, marker and forceps. Step-by-step instructions and 3D views provide complete imaging of the frog anatomy, helping learners visualise internal organs.
PETA India comments that “humane methods also save time and money and create a more inclusive learning environment that does not risk alienating students because of their religious beliefs, their moral values or any other reasons they might have.”
Virtual Frog Dissection was recognised as best science app by the I Education Apps Review, won the Mark Twain Ethical Science Award and has been graded as “A” by Wired Educator who commented that it was the “best science app we have ever reviewed. Should be in every science classroom.”
Encouragingly, research has suggested that modern non-animal science teaching methods teach students anatomy and biological processes as well as, and in many cases better than, the use of live or dead animals.
The program costs between $2.99 and $4.99 in the US but will be offered free to schools in India. PETA says that it has targeted India following recommendations by the country’s University Grants Commission (UCG) that animal dissection should phased out. UCG has supported the development of software such as Virtual Frog Dissection.
The software is available for Windows, Mac, iPad and virtual whiteboards. Will it be long before other schools in other countries adopt the more humane approach? Let us know your thoughts.
Image Source: Dave Huth/Flickr