New Investigation Prompts Calls For Rescue Of Abused Horses From Drug Company

For Immediate Release:

4 June 2018

Contact:

Nirali Gada; [email protected]

Dr Dipti M Kapoor; [email protected]

PETA India Reveals Continued Suffering Despite Suspension of Mediclone Biotech’s Licence

Tamil Nadu – Armed with a damning new eyewitness investigation report, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India sent a letter to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to intervene on behalf of the horses and other equines who are being used to produce antitoxins by Chennai-based Mediclone Biotech Pvt Ltd, seize the animals, and send them to a rehabilitation centre.

The Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) suspended Mediclone’s experimentation licence on 31 March 2017 in delayed response to Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) inspections in 2015 that revealed widespread abuse of equines at Mediclone and similar facilities. In February 2018, PETA India’s eyewitness inspected the company’s private farm, Equine Paradise in Chennai, and found that the animals suffered from skin diseases, body lesions, apparent malnourishment, and bleeding wounds, among other ailments, and some were seen eating their own faeces. The inspection report, photographs and video footage is available upon request.

“The suspension of Mediclone’s licence hasn’t stopped horses from suffering and bleeding at the company’s hands,” says PETA India Science Policy Adviser Dr Dipti Kapoor. “PETA India is calling on authorities to rescue and rehabilitate these horses and all equines abused by antitoxin producers across India.”

PETA India notes that the conditions documented in its March 2018 investigation appear to violate The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960; the CPCSEA Guidelines for Laboratory Animal Facility, 2005; and the Breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules, 1998.

Since the 2015 AWBI inspections, PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – has written to the Prime Minister of India; the Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences; the Union Minister of Environment; Forest and Climate Change; and members of the CPCSEA. PETA India has urged these authorities to take action to improve the horses’ welfare, replace the use of horses with modern production techniques, and shut down any facility found to be flouting animal-protection laws or performing experiments without CPCSEA registration.

During its 2015 inspections, the AWBI investigated several facilities that extract large volumes of blood from horses, mules, or donkeys to make antitoxins or antivenins that are exported worldwide. At Mediclone, inspectors discovered a horse with a deep elbow wound, a malnourished equine with an abnormal gait, a blind horse, a horse with a swollen fetlock joint, and other suffering animals. The AWBI also documented numerous other issues at institutions across India, including that equines suffered from poor dental care, digestive tract diseases, painful lesions on their hind legs, anaemia, diseased hooves, and skin diseases such as ringworm.

In order to prevent thousands of horses from being used to produce antitoxins and antivenins, the PETA International Science Consortium- Ltd. is funding groundbreaking research to produce non–animal derived antitoxins for diphtheria, a serious illness that can cause difficulty breathing and severe damage to the kidneys, nervous system, and heart.

For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.

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