January 25, 2016
Animal experimentation in India is overseen by the Committee for the Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA), the committee formed for this purpose under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. CPCSEA operates under the aegis of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and is “duty bound to take all such measures as may be necessary to ensure that animals are not subjected to unnecessary pain or suffering before, during or after the performance of experiments on them. … All establishments engaged in research and education involving animals, are required to comply with the various guidelines, norms and stipulations set out by CPCSEA.”
CPCSEA’s primary functions are as follows:
- “Registration of establishments conducting animal experimentation or breeding of animals for this purpose.
- Selection and appointment of nominees in the Institutional Animal Ethics Committees of registered establishments.
- Approval of Animal House Facilities on the basis of reports of inspections conducted by CPCSEA.
- Permission for conducting experiments involving use of animals.
- Recommendation for import of animals for use in experiments.
- Action against establishments in case of violation of any legal norm/stipulation.”
In general, the following legislative Acts and Rules govern the use of animals in research and education in India:
- Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (PCA Act): This is the central law governing the protection of animals in India. Chapter IV of PCA (Experimentation of Animals) Act forms and confers power to CPCSEA to prevent any “unnecessary pain and suffering” during experimentation of animals.
- The Breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules, 1998: sets out the general requirements for breeding and using animals or research, including rules governing facilities, personnel, and procedures.
- Amendment, 2001: expands/clarifies the definition of “experiment,” clarifies reporting/registration requirements, and expands on personnel qualifications.
- Amendment, 2006: adds, among other things, the specification that experimenters should first consider using animals “lowest on the phylogenetic scale,” that experimenters should use the minimum number of animals necessary to achieve 95% statistical confidence, and that experimenters must provide justification for not using non-animal alternatives.
- The Establishment of Medical College Regulations, 2013 (Amendment): bans the use of vivisection in medical education.
- The Education (Amendment) Regulations, 2014 under the Pharmacy Council of India bans the use of animals for the purpose of pharmacy education.
- Drug and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 (and amended):
- Draft Rule 148-C: bans the use of animals for cosmetics testing.
- Clause 135-B: bans the import of cosmetics that have been tested on animals.