INDIA: A giant step forward to replace the use of dogs in experiments
The Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA), which regulates the use of animals in experiments in India, has urged the Drug Controller General, Dr G. N. Singh, to examine the country’s use of dogs in regulatory testing and consider switching to humane alternative approaches instead.
The move came after Dr Shiranee Pereira Tettamanti, Member CPCSEA and Co-Founder of People for Animals (Chennai), placed a proposal before the committee in 2013 to consider a ban on the use of dogs in research and made a presentation to the committee on the ethical and legal need to protect “man’s best friend” from testing. This was followed by a presentation by Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of the BUAV and Cruelty Free International, on the results of a ground-breaking scientific analysis carried out by the BUAV, in conjunction with FRAME, which shows that using dogs in experiments to predict toxic responses in humans is not scientifically justifiable (Bailey et al. (2013). An analysis of the use of dogs in predicting human toxicology and drug safety. ATLA 41, 335-350)
In the letter to Dr Singh, the CPSCSEA acknowledges the paper and states, “It appears that the dog test provides essentially no additional confidence in the outcome for humans, but is at great ethical and financial cost. … The CPSCEA urges DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) to look into the matter and consider the use of other alternatives.”
People for Animals India, the BUAV and Cruelty Free International have been working with the CPCSEA on the issue for close to a year. This decision is not just a milestone for the welfare of animals in laboratories, where dogs have been recognised as companion animals, but a milestone wherein a nation has recognized the need to promote humane science. In urging the Drug Controller General of India to back these scientific findings and the recommendations of the CPCSEA, it is hoped that India leads the world by becoming the first country to end the use of dogs in regulatory testing and hence usher in a new era in toxicity testing.
Member, CPCSEA, Govt. of India
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