Central Government Takes Steps to Reduce Animal Testing for Chemicals

For Immediate Release:

29 September 2020


Dr Ankita Pandey; [email protected]

Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]

PETA India’s Work With Government Will Help Save Animals’ Lives – but More Change Is Needed to Minimise Testing on Animals

New Delhi – With support from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, has circulated its updated draft Chemicals (Management and Safety) Rules, 20xx, to its stakeholders. The draft now includes provisions to minimise testing on animals that, when passed, would save the lives of many animals, but there is still more to be done.

As the only animal protection group to participate in the stakeholder consultation meeting held on 11 May 2020 to finalise the draft Rules, PETA India made many recommendations for using reliable and relevant non-animal testing approaches that protect human health and the environment which have been adopted in the draft Rules. To avoid repeat testing, the draft Rules require that existing scientific evidence be considered prior to conducting any new tests, and data submitted for the registration of substances in foreign jurisdictions will also be accepted by the Chemical Regulatory Division. Furthermore, non-animal methods approved by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) must be used to derive the required data, wherever possible, with tests on vertebrate animals undertaken only as a last resort, as proposed by PETA India. A company registering a substance will also be required to propose a testing strategy for approval by the Division prior to conducting any new tests.

The draft Rules, which will supersede two existing sets of Rules – the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989, and the Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness and Response) Rules, 1996 – describe a multifaceted programme for identifying and managing the risks associated with the use of chemicals imported into or manufactured in India.

“We appreciate the government’s step towards modernising the regulatory framework for chemicals, and there are ample opportunities to continue minimising testing on animals,” says PETA India Research Associate Dr Ankita Pandey. “The new Rules, once implemented with PETA India’s recommendations, will prevent animals from being poisoned and killed in unreliable tests, and PETA India will continue to work with the Ministry to ensure that the chemicals legislation of the country is the most scientifically advanced in the world and that non-animal testing approaches are used wherever possible.”

As proposed by PETA India, there are further opportunities to minimise testing on animals, such as by implementing a “one substance, one registration” rule, which would mandate data sharing among multiple companies registering the same substance, thus ensuring that there’s no duplication of tests using animals, if required, for the registration. Establishment of a Non-Animal Methods Unit, in addition to the many other units established under the Rules to provide the division with scientific support in form of updates on the availability of OECD- valid non-animal methods and reviews of technical dossiers and testing proposals would also help ensure that tests on animals are considered only as a last resort.

Every year in India, many animals are killed in an attempt to establish the safety of chemicals with regards to human health and the environment. In these tests, animals may be forced to consume food or water laced with a chemical, the chemical may be pumped into their stomachs, or they may be forced to inhale the chemical, before being killed. PETA India will continue working with the government to replace all use of animals in regulatory testing with more relevant non-animal approaches.

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.