WBBSE removes cruel experiment after PETA intervention

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Kolkata, Mar 10 (UNI) In a major development, PETA has forced the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education(WBBSE) to expunge from its Class VI general science book certain experiments that required killing of animals and birds by either suffocation or starvation.

Talking to UNI Dharmesh Solanki of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals said, ''Last year, PETA learnt from a caring parent that the WBBSE was prescribing outrageous experiments on animals for its class VI students. In one of the experiments, children were required to withhold water from a parrot until the bird died, and in another, students were directed to seal a guinea pig in a jar until the animal suffocated.

''Shocked by the cruelty of these experiments, PETA immediately contacted Mr Partha Dey, Minister of School Education, urging him to direct the board to abandon cruel experiments on animals. The group also did a thorough follow-up with him and many other authorities, including the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, and filed requests under the Right to Information Act to gain information about the status of an earlier request to halt the experiments,'' he said.

Finally, after months of communication with PETA, the WBBSE decided to stop these experiments.

In a notice dated February 18, 2008, WBBSE Secretary Swapan Kr Sarkar ordered, ''In respect of experiments on animals about the necessity of food and Oxygen (Group-C, Unit-III of Class VI General Science Syllabus), the authors must avoid discussions using rats/birds/toads, instead they can use common pests like cockroach and common air breathing fish(catfish). No illustrations are required for such experiments.'' This draws to a close a long and sustained effort on part of PETA to remove the cruel experiments from the science book. The entire process started with a letter of request to Minister for School Education Partha Dey on November 29, 2006.

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