India Bans Live Animals In University and Hospital Research

India’s government has banned the use of live animals in educational and research institutions. According to the Times of India, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has ordered colleges, universities, research institutes, hospitals and laboratories to stop using live animals for dissection and experiments and to use alternatives including computer simulation and mannequin models. Only those engaging in molecular research are exempt from the ban.

The MoEF has said that universities and other institutions are “duty-bound to use alternatives to avoid unnecessary suffering or pain to animals.” Computer simulations and model mannequins are, says the MoEF, actually “superior learning tools in teaching of pharmacy or life sciences.”

India’s 1960 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act established the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments and Animals (CPCSEA), which contributed to the guidelines. Mangal Jain, a nominee of the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee (IAEC) (which is appointed by the CPCSEA), gaves these details:

The animal experiments should be stopped in all institutes except for the purpose of new molecular research. Sometimes, in laboratories, a lot of work is repeated and animals become unnecessary victims. Only scientists researching on a new molecular theory can experiment on animals. In medical and pharmacy colleges, there is unwanted cruelty towards animals which can be avoided. These guidelines mention imprisonment for five years and monetary penalty.

As Jain’s statement makes clear, using animals in experiments and for activities such as dissection is simply “unwanted cruelty.” Too often, animals become “unnecessary victims” in such experiments. Now that we have technologies such as computer simulations, dissecting actual animals — a rite of passage for generations of high school biology students in the U.S. — simply isn’t necessary.

Hoshang Bilimoria, a nominee appointed by the CPCSEA, also says that the committee’s members should be able to “to inspect animals housed in educational institutes, experimentation centres or technical laboratories without prior intimation to the institutes,” in order to ensure that animals used for scientific research are treated ethically.

As Andrew Rowan, president of Humane Society International, also commented:

India’s decision to shift its reliance from harmful and often unreliable animal models to robust non-animal approaches for biomedical research and education is a major step in the right direction and they are on a path to leadership in replacing animals in experiments.

As the Human Society International also notes, in just one year some 100 million animals are “bred, injected, infected, cut open, genetically altered, force-fed drugs, chemicals and ultimately killed for scientific research, testing and education.” The society calls on governments across the globe to follow India’s lead and conduct “non-animal research” and use humane alternatives.

How can we advocate for universities and hospitals in the U.S. and around the globe to follow India’s lead?

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Nikhil D
Nikhil Dutta2 years ago

This is great news, hopefully others will follow. and DITTO to the comment made on 12:52pm PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Diana Roth
Diana Roth2 years ago

Great news.

Judith Howard
Judith Howard3 years ago

There are alternatives to using live animals as mentioned in the article. And which are far superior teaching models. Future students will look back at this time in history as being barbaric. And quite right.

Carrie Anne Brown

great news thanks for sharing :)

Rin S.
Rin S.3 years ago

I am so glad India is taking a big step forward. Now it's time for everywhere else to follow India's lead.

Cindy L. Girgenti
Cindy Girgenti3 years ago

Kudo's to India!! The government in the US and every other country could learn a thing or 2 from them. Everything should be exempt from animal testing, including cosmetics!

Nancy L.
Nancy L.3 years ago

Sounds great ...

HELENE D.3 years ago

INDIA IS A CIVILIZED COUNTRY! others aren't! as simple as that!

Bruce K.
Bruce K.3 years ago

Nice too see this.

Michaela C.

This was the best news I read today so I hope this will happen...