Spec. Issue 2006 - Article Summary

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Current status of establishing the 3Rs concept in India

Shiranee Pereira
CIBA, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Chennai, India
The CPCSEA (Committee for the Purpose of Control & Supervision of Experiments on Animals) is a statutory body of the Government of India and draws its powers from the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act of 1960. The Act states that the “duty of the committee is to take all such measures as may be necessary to ensure that animals are not subject to unnecessary pain and suffering before, during and after the experiment” and “experiments on animals be avoided wherever it is possible to do so if other devices and the like may equally suffice”. This can be traced as the first legal indication of the concept of alternatives in India. The PCA Act of 1960 was conceptualised by Rukmini Devi Arundale, theophist and philosopher, a contemporary of the founders of the classical concept of the
3Rs – W. M. S. Russel and R. L. Burch. The “Breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control & Supervision) Rules 1998” were notified in the gazette of India in 1998. These rules further reiterate the concept of alternatives. The CPCSEA proactively works to propagate the concept of the 3Rs and an independent expert committee has been constituted to suggest and implement alternatives in research, education and drug testing. There is a profound difference today, especially in the use of animals in education, in the use of equines in the production of immunobiologicals, in the manufacture of tissue culture vaccines, LD50, etc. The CPCSEA, in 2004, has further officially accepted the concept of the 4th R –“Rehabilitation” of laboratory animals, stating that investigators have a moral responsibility to take care of laboratory animals after use.

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