Rats Illegally Gassed To Death For Airlines, PETA, Animal Welfare Baord Step In

For Immediate Release:

2 April 2012


Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

Dr Chaitanya Koduri; [email protected]

PETA, AWBI State Central Warehousing Corporation Violates Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act

Mumbai – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and the Indian government body Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) have both fired off letters to the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC), one of the biggest public warehouse operators in the country that also offers fumigation and other services. A PETA official has also met with CWC Regional Manager Maj Santokh Singh based in Mumbai to urge the agency to immediately stop testing its airplane-cabin fumigation process on live rats. In the letter, PETA points out that, in addition to breaching the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the gassing violates the guidelines of the Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage in Faridabad. The guidelines clearly state that gas-detection equipment should be used to test the effectiveness of the fumigation process. PETA has reported the apparent infraction of the guidelines to the director general of the Civil Aviation Department and to the Airports Authority of India. A whistleblower alerted PETA that the caged rats are kept inside a chamber filled with poisonous gases, such as the insecticide methyl bromide, and left to suffocate and die. The whistleblower also helped the group rescue a rat who had been used by an airline at Mumbai’s domestic airport. In its letter, the AWBI chairperson Dr Kharb to take corrective action by ending their illegal use of live rats.

“There are no excuses for suffocating rats with poisonous gas when sophisticated gas detectors have been in use for years”, says PETA India Science Policy Adviser Dr Chaitanya Koduri. “We’re asking the Central Warehousing Corporation to stop this barbaric and illegal practice immediately. If it refuses, we will ask the Civil Aviation Department and Airports Authority of India to make it stop.”

PETA also explains in the letter that international bodies – such as NATO and the World Health Organisation – have proposed several methods of fumigation that have been tried and tested for regular use in aircraft cabins. None of these procedures requires the use of live animals. Also, under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, it is illegal to administer any injurious drug or substance to any animal or to cause an animal to suffer.

Rats are highly intelligent animals who have excellent memories and excel at learning and understanding concepts. Recent studies by neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp suggest that when rats play or are playfully tickled, they make chirping sounds that are strikingly similar to human laughter.

PETA’s letters are available upon request. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.