Need for abolition of vivisection
In India, there are several laws to protect the interest of Animals, most prominent being the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. But there is a lack of adequate infrastructure for the proper implementations of the provisions. Moreover many of the provisions appear to be redundant and non applicable in the current scenario and should ideally be amended.
Here dealing with section 14 of the Act specifically. Section 14 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 states,” Nothing contained in this Act shall render unlawful the performance of experiments on animals for the purpose of advancement by new discovery of physiological knowledge which will be useful for saving human life.”
This exception is subject to widespread misuse, often legalizing brutal treatment meted out to laboratory animals.
Section 11, which awards fines and punishments for certain violations of the Act are petty and offenders can plainly pay this paltry fine and get away with maltreatment of animals.
Countless monkeys, dogs, rats and other animals are burned ands blinded, starved and drugged, mauled behind the closed laboratory doors every year because of un-dying old habits of research the so-called economic convenience.
The prevalent animal research is extremely cruel and completely inaccurate because of vast physiological difference between species. Logically, it is a bad science which harms animals and humans alike.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 created the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experimentation on Animals (CPCSEA), which was to implement good laboratory conditions and practices and monitor animal experimentation in India. However, animal research in India is notoriously riddled with problems, both of legislation and in implementation.
Most pharmaceutical companies that practice animal experimentation do not employ full time veterinarians or care takers to take care of the experimented animals. There is a lack of proper air conditioning, lightening, hygienic food and water for these animals.
In June 2002, the CPCSEA inspected the Dog housing facilities of Delhi’s Ranbaxy Laboratories and found most dogs suffering from dermatitis and other infectious diseases. At AIIMS the primates were housed in rusty cages and were inappropriately grouped according to their behaviour.
National Centre for Laboratory Animal Sciences in Hyderabad supplies about 50,000 animals each year to various laboratories and institutions for conducting experimentation. Many institutions also get away without reporting the projects for which the animals were experimented upon. There are hardly laws for regulating controlled experimentation and mostly only guidelines are issued which are broadly overlooked. According to the newspaper reports the National Institute for Nutrition (NIN) had even solitarily confined primates, who are highly social animals, for upto 12 years resulting in severe behavioral and psychological anomalies.
The animal identification methods practiced for laboratory animals like crippling, notching ears, fingers, toes, cutting of tissues from tail of new born mice to check transgenesis, amount to deliberate mutation in the eye of any right thinking man.
Vivisection is the scientific term of experimenting on live animals. Many vivisectors come to India because they cannot get away with conducting such animal testing in their own countries. In India, the research facilities all over the country squander time and money experimenting on animals without any substantial contribution to the medical intelligence.
Grace Slick, a notable anti-vivisectionist said, “using animals to extrapolate information for humans is stupid science”
The most important observation by anti-vivisection groups is that animals rarely make a good model for the human body. The cancer research has a history of curing cancer in rats but the same simply didn’t work on humans.
Many drugs like thalidomide, zomax etc were tested on animals and judged safe but they had devastating consequence on people who used them,
Dr. Albert Sabin, who developed the oral polio vaccine, said that the drug was delayed by several years because of misleading results when the drug was experimented on monkeys.
The development of transgenic animals for xeno transplantation had a greater potential risk of transferring diseases to future generation than the gain of temporarily curing few thousand individual patients.
Many animals in Indian laboratories are experimented upon and then left to suffer after surgery without any painkiller or veterinary care. There is an urgent need for stricter animal laws in the country for proper handling and rehabilitation of laboratory animals. On a broader perspective Animal experimentation can be done away with and only those necessary may be allowed under detailed supervision of statutory bodies. Further there is a need for amendment in the animal laws that should make institutions dealing with animals more accountable.
Student of Calcutta University, Department of Law, Hazra Campus
[Submitted as an entry for the MightyLaws.in Blog Post Writing Competition, 2011]