Dehradun, An inspection of the animal experimentation facility in the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences (HIMS) has revealed blatant violation of the Government regulations regarding such procedures. The Animal Welfare Board of India, northern region sub-committee member and member secretary of the People For Animals (Uttarakhand) Gauri Maulekhi has stated this inspection after a report submitted to the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) under the Animal Welfare division of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
However, according to HIMS Dean Dr Vijendra Chauhan, the animal testing facility could not have functioned if all the regulations were not being observed. It is pertinent to mention here that CPCSEA director Anjani Kumar had directed Maulekhi to inspect the facility at HIMS following complaints about abuse of animals used for experiments. In her report submitted to CPCSEA, Maulekhi has stated that HIMS has violated most of the rules formulated by the committee under section 14 to 20 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. The State Principal Secretary of Medical Education has been notified about these anomalies while the State Chief Wild Life Warden has also been informed about the use and culling of the Rana Tigrina frog which is a protected species under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Students of the Pharmacology department and Anatomy and Orthopedics department used the animals for experiments.
CPCSEA rules require regular records of tests conducted and condition of animals used in the experiments, regular services of a veterinary doctor and proper housing facility for the test animals. These regulations are being violated in the HIMS animal-test lab as those employed as sweepers also work as animal care technicians without proper training or clothing. A veterinary doctor doesn’t visit this facility regularly though it is one of the basic requirements of such a set up. There are about two-dozens rabbits, rats, mice and guinea pigs being housed in this facility but so far no records of animal deaths or the pre and post condition of animals have been kept barring personal records kept by some teachers and students.
The animals used in experiments are later released in the Chilla forest range without any veterinary check up which increases the risk of any probable disease or anomaly resulting from the experiment spreading to other animals in the food chain. Both the Central and State Governments are considering stringent action against such facilities in Uttarakhand which are violating CPCSEA rules, Maulekhi added.
News Source: Bureau 03-Jun-2011