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Following a PETA campaign by West Bengal MP Abhijit Mukherjee and other politicians, India moves closer to a complete ban of houshold product testing on animals.
Ending the cruelty
Input provided by PETA
Dark Ages: For laboratory animals, the world has still not left the dark ages. Bunnies don't look so cute in stocks, do they? Well, after they've been doused with some chemical for testing, perhaps they'll look better. These cruel and barbaric tests are unnecessary - available today are faster and more accurate tests for predicting human reactions, thru real human tissue cultures.
West Bengal – It can be confirmed that the Soaps and Other Surface Active Agents Committee (CHD 25) of the Chemical Division of the Bureau Of Indian Standards on which PETA India Science Policy Adviser Dr Chaitanya Koduri has an official seat has recently proposed to amend the test requirements for household products (such as cleaners and detergents) by replacing the last animal test remaining, a test on guinea pigs for determining skin sensitization potential of chemicals, with an non-animal test method called Human Repeat Insult Patch Test(HRIPT). It was also proposed that the manufacturers of novel ingredients should submit safety data using non-animal methods of testing. Members of the Committee have now been asked to submit their comments. The move follows the Drugs Controller General of India, Dr GN Singh, recently announcing that testing cosmetics and their ingredients on animals will not be permitted in India following an intense PETA campaign and efforts by MP Maneka Gandhi.

PETA India's campaign to ban household product tests on animals has received support from high places. MP Maneka Gandhi has been working closely with Dr Koduri to push for the ban. The offices of Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi and the senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party Lal Krishna Advani have urged the Ministers of Health and Family Welfare or Consumers Affairs to look into PETA’s request. Santosh Chowdhury, the newly appointed Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare; Kodikkunil Suresh, Minister of State for Labour and Employement, Tariq Anwar, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries and Abhijit Mukerjee, Member of Parliament from Jangipur constituency and son of President Pranab Mukherjee, had all sent appeals to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare or Consumers for the same. Dr Mirza Mehboob, former Cabinet Minister of Health, Medical Education and Family Welfare for the government of Jammu and Kashmir; Yashodhara Raje Scindia, former Minister for Tourism, Sports and Youth Welfare for the government of Madhya Pradesh, and MP Maneka Gandhi have all sent strong appeals to these Ministries in favour of a ban of a ban on household product tests on animals.

Officials from the Mahatma Gandhi–Doerenkamp Center for Alternatives to Use of Animals in Life Science Education and the Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory advisory body, have also expressed support for a ban on household product tests on animals.

The Bureau of Indian Standard's proposal comes in the wake of Israel's bans on the testing of cosmetics, household products and their ingredients on animals, which includes a ban on sales of animal-tested products regardless of where those tests were conducted. In addition, the Home Secretary of the UK government proposed a ban on household-product testing in 2011, and the UK has announced that it is consulting with companies, trade bodies and other interested parties to confirm a working proposal.

"Animal tests are cruel and unreliable. Non-animal testing methods are modern, humane and relevant to humans", Dr Koduri says. "This compliance with international standards will also improve trade avenues for the country and save animals' lives. PETA is now also urging the government to implement a ban on the sale and marketing of cosmetics and household products if they have been tested on animals outside of India."

More than 1,300 companies around the world have banned all animal tests in favour of effective, modern non-animal tests, but many still choose to subject animals to painful tests in which substances are dripped into their eyes, smeared onto their abraded skin, sprayed in their faces or forced down their throats. Because of the vast physiological differences between humans and the animals used in these tests, the results are often misleading.

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