An animal rights body today claimed that the country's health advisory board has recommended a two-year phase out period for a particular kind of tests carried out on rabbits, a move which it said was a major milestone to end cruel and obsolete animal testing.
Humane Society International-India claimed that Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) has recommended two-year phase out period for the Draize irritation tests which is carried out by using rabbits.
Draize test was developed more than 70 years ago to measure eye and skin irritation using rabbits, who are locked in restraints while a test chemical is applied to one eye or to the shaved skin on their back.
Animals are monitored for up to two weeks, without pain relief, for signs of chemical damage, which can include swelling, ulceration, bleeding and blindness, it said.
"DTABs recommendation to phase out the cruel Draize test is a step in the right direction. However, an immediate ban would have been a more appropriate response to companies that have for years smugly disregarded the ever-growing toolbox of non-animal testing methods...
"...and their legal mandate under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to replace animal tests when alternatives are available. We expect the Health Ministry will act swiftly to notify the rule change so that companies are required to implement it as soon as possible," said Gauri Maulekhi, government affairs liaison, HSI-India and People For Animals (PFA) trustee.
The body claimed that during this transition period (of two years), validated non-animal alternatives may be accepted in place of the previously mandatory animal tests.
It claimed that the DTAB's recommendation comes after a series of representations made by HSI-India, and PFA other stakeholders.
(Feature image source: Reuters)