For Immediate Release:
27 February 2017
Animal Experiments Are Cruel and Archaic, Says Group
Hyderabad – Just in time for National Science Day (28 February), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has appealed, for the second time, to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Earth Sciences, and the Indian Council of Medical Research to urge them to change the purpose of the proposed National Animal Resource Facility for Biomedical Research (NARF) in Genome Valley, Hyderabad, from animal testing to the development and validation of modern, humane non-animal research methods. The NARF is currently expected to cost a whopping Rs 338.58 crores, to be functional by 2018–19, and to house huge numbers of primates, dogs, and other species to be used in experiments.
“It’s high time that India caught up with other scientifically advanced nations that are developing non-animal testing methods”, says Dr Dipti Kapoor, a research associate at PETA India. “As those countries move away from animal tests, India must not be left behind.”
The primary purpose of medical research is to promote human health. However, every year, billions of rupees in health-care resources and millions of animals’ lives are wasted on archaic experiments that are now commonly recognised as unreliable for predicting results in humans. The group’s appeal points out that 92 per cent of drugs entering the global market after successful animal tests fail at Phase I of clinical trials.
PETA India also notes that several investigations of laboratories and breeding facilities in India have revealed that animals are treated in cruel, barbaric ways. It has repeatedly been documented that ethics, hygiene standards, and laws relating to animal breeding and experimentation are commonly disregarded, to the detriment of both humans and animals.
In addition, the group stated its concern that the proposed facility could have a negative impact on public health, pointing out that non-human primates can carry and transmit disease, often without displaying any visible signs. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeys – like humans and other primates – often carry the Zika virus as well as other diseases. Among the conditions that can be spread by animals in laboratories are herpesvirus simiae, Ebola, hepatitis A, measles, and poliomyelitis.
Unlike India, European nations, the US, and other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries are now investing significant amounts of money every year in non-animal fundamental and translational research for human health.
This progressive research examines the effects that drugs and other substances have on humans through the use of technology such as cell and tissue cultures as well as computational methods. For example, “organs-on-chips” – which contain human cells grown in a state-of-the-art system to mimic the structure and function of human organs – have been developed. Toxicity testing via these chips has been shown to replicate human physiology, diseases, and drug responses more accurately than crude animal experiments. Furthermore, MatTek’s EpiDermTM tissue model – a 3-dimensional, human cell–derived skin model – replicates key traits of human skin. And researchers at the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing have developed five different tests that use human blood cells to detect contaminants in drugs that cause a potentially dangerous fever response when they enter the body.
PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on” – notes that non-animal methods are both humane and human-relevant.
For more information about PETA India, please visit PETAIndia.com.