Animal Experimentation and Ethics in India: The CPCSEA Makes a Difference
Shiranee Pereira, Prema Veeraraghavan, Sonya Ghosh and Maneka Gandhi
The Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) is a statutory body formed by the Act of the Indian Parliament under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. Formed in 1964, it was revived in 1998, under the committed chairpersonship of Maneka Gandhi. In the last two years, the CPCSEA has bettered the life of the animals in laboratories across India. This committee is composed of members of the scientific community, regulatory authorities and animal activists. The CPCSEA functions with a brilliant network of volunteers who liaise with the laboratories. For the first time in India: over 665 laboratories are registered with the CPCSEA; Institutional Animal Ethics Committees (IAECs) are constituted in every laboratory, which are only empowered to approve research project proposals that use rats, mice, guinea-pigs or rabbits; every project that uses canines, ovines, bovines or non-human primates can only be conducted if approved by the panel of scientific experts constituted for this purpose; guidelines on laboratory animal care and practice have been formulated and enforced; a protocol for the production of immunobiologicals from equines has been formulated and ratified by the Supreme Court of India; the CPCSEA has been deliberating on alternatives and working out modalities to introduce alternatives in basic/regulatory research and education, in keeping with the international arena; the CPCSEA, to date, has rehabilitated and homed over 300 dogs, 150 equines, 200 non-human primates and several cattle, cats, birds, rabbits and mice; the CPCSEA proactively trains and guides scientific and non-scientific personnel on issues of alternatives and laboratory animal welfare; and the CPCSEA has fought legal issues on laboratory animal care and use and have had verdicts that favoured alternatives and animal welfare.