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April 20, 2012

HSI Applauds Move by India to Cut Animal Experiments from Science Education and Research

Humane Society International

Delhi—Humane Society International welcomes a decision by India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests to require the use of modern, non-animal tools in place of dissections and live animal experiments for biomedical education and research, with the exception of new molecular research. The new policy applies to all universities, colleges and other research and teaching institutes throughout India and has the potential to save large numbers of animals each year.

“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,” said Dr Andrew Rowan, president and CEO of Humane Society International. “This outstanding achievement would not have been possible without the leadership of Maneka Gandhi, Dr. Chinny Krishna and Dr. Shiranee Pereira and the many dedicated scientists and animal advocates who have worked tirelessly for years to make this a reality.”

While implementation of this decision is unclear, this is a significant step forward. Each year around the world, more than 100 million animals, or more than three each second, are bred, injected, infected, cut open, genetically altered, force-fed drugs and chemicals and ultimately killed for the purposes of scientific research, testing and education. But signs of progress are beginning to emerge:

  • Scientists from around the globe are rallying behind the vision of “a not-so-distant future in which virtually all routine toxicity testing would be conducted in human cells or cell lines” (Toxicological Sciences, vol. 107, 2009)
  • The European Union revised its animal experiments legislation in 2010 to ban experiments involving great apes, and to require all EU countries to promote the development and use of alternatives to animal procedures for research and testing.
  • More than 90 percent of medical schools in the United States have abandoned harmful animal use for training purposes in favour of modern approaches.

Humane Society International is calling on national governments around the globe to follow India’s lead by legally requiring the preferential use of non-animal research, testing and educational tools where available, and increasing the proportion of research funding dedicated to the further development of these tools.

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Media Contact: N.G. Jayasimha, +91 9490732614, jayasimhahsi@gmail.com

Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organisations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — on the Web at hsi.org/india.

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