The Express Pharma Pulse reported in March that the Indian government is considering eliminating a number of obstacles in that country’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act which have seriously hampered animal research in that country.
The Ministry of Environment is currently examining recommendations made by an expert group to streamline and alter the existing procedures. According to Express Pharma Pulse,
According to the proposed amendments, such experiments using animals that will bring significant gains in the wellbeing of the people of the country will be allowed. This will be incorporated in the Section 14 of the PCA Act. While under the current Act animal experiments are allowed only for medical molecules study, the proposed amendment will allow genetic modification experiments, nutraceuticals study, experiments for genetically improved food, etc., said sources.
Not only that, penalty for major and minor offenses will be separated, the Act will be amended to enhance the fine to Rs 3000. For minor offenses corrective measures will be taken and licenses will not be canceled arbitrarily.
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The Rules also will be changed to relax the norms related to import of animals and DGFT will be authorized to clear imports. If animals required is not available from a registered breeder or alternate legal sources within the country, genetically defined animals could be imported with permission from DGFT, except that non-availability will not apply for genetically defined rats and mice. Further, the Rules are proposed to be amended to recognize contract research under the law and such projects need to take due approval from CPCSEA sub committee for animal experimentation.
This would represent a major change for a country where animal rights influence has pretty much strangled biomedical research in the past few years.
Government to amend PCA Act to facilitate animal experiments. Jayashree Padmini, Express Pharma Pulse (India), March 31, 2005.
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