On 21 July 2022, following strict action by central regulatory body the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) based on a complaint from PETA India, more than 150 rats and mice illegally bred and used for unauthorised experimentation at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, were rescued. PETA India had submitted evidence of legal violations and cruelty to animals at JIPMER to the CPCSEA. The animals were removed from the JIPMER animal facility and handed over to PETA India for rehabilitation in a sanctuary with the necessary enrichments and veterinary services they need.
Per a whistle-blower complaint received by PETA India, these rats and mice were being kept in miserable conditions at JIPMER – confined to severely crowded boxes and forced to eat food contaminated with fungus – in violation of CPCSEA regulations and guidelines. Furthermore, the animals were reportedly bred to overpopulation, and students were forced to perform experiments on them solely to reduce their numbers. According to various research publications by JIPMER in the last decade, the animals were subjected to painful experiments in which they were forced to consume drugs and chemicals, deliberately infected with diseases, and subjected to mutilating procedures, after which they were ultimately killed.
The rescue was approved by CPCSEA after PETA India alerted it to gross violations of animal protection laws at the medical institute. In response, CPCSEA sent a show cause notice to JIPMER demanding that the illegal experiments be stopped immediately and warning of legal action. PETA India then offered CPCSEA and JIPMER permanent rehabilitation of and lifelong care for the animals at a suitable sanctuary.
In its letter to CPCSEA, PETA India noted that JIPMER had not renewed its registration licence since 2012, yet continued to breed and conduct experiments on rats and mice and fund illegal experiments, even after CPCSEA cancelled its registration on 5 May 2022. PETA India pointed out that this is a direct violation of the Breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules, 1998, which prohibit breeding and experimenting on animals without CPCSEA registration. In its complaint, PETA India submitted evidence of cruelty and illegal activities at JIPMER, including photographs, Institutional Animal Ethics Committee (IAEC) circulars inviting research proposals using animals, minutes of IAEC meetings during which illegal animal experiments were approved, memorandums releasing research grants to support proposals involving animal experiments, and published research papers that discuss experiments conducted on animals by the institute in the past decade.
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