The Soaps and Other Surface Active Agents Committee (CHD 25) of the Chemical Division of the Bureau of Indian Standards, on which PETA India Science Policy Adviser Dr Chaitanya Koduri has an official seat, has proposed to amend the test requirements for household products (such as cleaners and detergents) by replacing the last animal test remaining, a test on guinea pigs for determining skin-sensitisation potential of chemicals, with a non-animal test method called “the human repeated insult patch test”. It was also proposed that the manufacturers of novel ingredients should submit safety data using non-animal methods of testing. Members of the committee have now been asked to submit their comments. The move follows the recent announcement by the Drugs Controller General of India, Dr GN Singh, that testing cosmetics and their ingredients on animals will not be permitted in India, following an intense PETA campaign and efforts by MP Maneka Gandhi.
PETA India’s campaign to ban household product tests on animals has received support from high places. Gandhi has been working closely with Dr Koduri to push for the ban. The offices of Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi and the senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Lal Krishna Advani, have urged the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Consumers Affairs to look into PETA’s request. Santosh Chaudhary, the newly appointed Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare; Kodikunnil Suresh, Minister of State for Labour and Employment; Tariq Anwar, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries and Abhijit Mukherjee, Member of Parliament from Jangipur constituency and son of President Pranab Mukherjee, all sent appeals to the ministries as well. Dr Mirza Mehboob, former Cabinet Minister of Health, Medical Education and Family Welfare for the government of Jammu and Kashmir; Yashodhara Raje Scindia, former Minister for Tourism, Sports and Youth Welfare for the government of Madhya Pradesh and Gandhi have all sent strong appeals to these ministries in favour of a ban on household product tests on animals.
Officials from the Mahatma Gandhi–Doerenkamp Center for Alternatives to Use of Animals in Life Science Education and the Animal Welfare Board of India have also expressed support for a ban on household product tests on animals.
The Bureau of Indian Standard’s proposal comes in the wake of Israel’s recent ban on the testing of cosmetics and household products and their ingredients on animals, which includes a ban on sales of animal-tested products, regardless of where those tests were conducted. In addition, the Home Secretary of the UK government proposed a ban on household-product testing in 2011, and the UK has announced that it is consulting with companies, trade bodies and other interested parties to confirm a working proposal.
More than 1,300 companies around the world have banned all animal tests in favour of effective, modern non-animal tests, but many still choose to subject animals to painful tests in which substances are dripped into their eyes, smeared onto their abraded skin, sprayed in their faces or forced down their throats. Because of the vast physiological differences between humans and the animals used in these tests, the results are often misleading.
Urge the government to ban household products tests on animals today.