Saving frogs saves rupees

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1998:

INDIA–– Gulabchand Kataria, minister of
education for Rajasthan state, India, in late
May banned frog dissection in sub-university
level exercises, saving about 100 million
frogs a year––and the cost of obtaining them.
Some rural frog-collectors may
lose seasonal livelihoods, but the business of
providing frogs for laboratory use is now
largely centralized, dominated by a relative
handful of factory-style growers who employ
relatively few people.
Kataria acted in response, he said,
to petitioning from members of Mahjanam,
an anti-violence group founded in 1994 by
retired businessman Phoolchand Gandhi.

According to South China Morning Post correspondent
S.N.M. Abdi, the Mahjanam
campaign stressed “the repercussions of violent
teaching methods on young minds.”
Ecological concerns are also
involved, as both India and neighboring
Bangladesh have restricted frog-collecting in
recent years to conserve rare bird species
who depend on frogs as their main food during
nesting season.
The Indian Ministry of Human
Resource Development ruled in May 1997
on behalf of Sarika Sancheti, 17, the Blue
Cross of India, and 10 other organizations
that dissection must be optional in schools
Under direction of satellite TV
equipment maker S. Chinny Krishna, the
Blue Cross of India has since 1987 set the
world standard in developing and distributing
computer simulations of dissection.
Instrumental in advancing instruction in
computer use throughout India, as well as in
reducing costs while improving the quality of
science education, the Blue Cross repertoire
now includes dissections of frogs, pigeons,
rats, cockroaches, earthworms, and rabbits.
[Information on the Blue Cross program is
available c/o 1-A Eldams Rd., Madras 600
018, India.]

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