India bans the import of all cosmetics tested on animals




The October 5, 2014, article “Bunny-free beauty” by Sriya Narayanan and Preeti Zachariah in The Hindu reports that in November, India will become the third place in the world to ban the import of products tested on animals, joining Israel and the European Union.


In 2013, India banned the testing of cosmetics within India. Now the import of cosmetics that contain any ingredients tested on animals has also been banned.


This remarkable step will make India a cruelty-free zone with regard to cosmetics.


Dr. Chinny Krishna, Vice-Chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India is quoted as noting that it is only fitting that India, the land of ahimsa (“do no harm”) is leading the way with this ban. He said, “Cosmetics testing is a frivolous thing – thousands of animal lives are lost because of it.”


Organizations like Humane Society International and PETA India have worked with great determination to bring about this ban, conveying the message that modern science now offers many compassionate alternatives that render animal testing superfluous, as well as being generally unreliable in its ability to predict how chemicals and various ingredients will affect humans.


Alokparna Sengupta of HSI, who has worked tirelessly for this cause, commented on the uncertainty and unpredictability of animal testing, which makes it pointless, especially considering the vast amount of suffering involved. She said, “We’re elated and proud of India’s progressive step.”


Dr. Chaitanya Koduri, policy advisor to PETA India, talked about the advantages of some of the non-animal testing methods. There are now skin tests that use reconstructed human skin.


The ban will be of benefit, of course, to the animals; rabbits, hamsters, mice, and others, who will no longer suffer and be killed, but also to humans, who will have safer and more precisely-tested cosmetics, free of any guilt attached to having caused the suffering of animals.


It is anticipated that the cosmetics testing ban will pave the way for more alternative testing to take place in the pharmaceutical industry, over time replacing cruel testing on animals.


Alokparna Sengupta described her rewarding experience with a rabbit, now released from being a lab rabbit, who is cautiously learning to trust and relate to a human.


Congratulations to India and to the Indian animal groups that have brought about this compassionate victory for animals.


To read the original article in the Times of India, click here.


Photo: Larry D. Moore CC BY -SA 3.0 /

India: A grim reality — and a big victory in the fight to free animals from laboratories, part two



Continued from part one…

To read part one first, click here


 A wave of support


With Humane Society International (HSI) spearheading the campaign Be Cruelty Free, many groups and individuals joined the effort to ban cosmetics testing on animals, including Maneka Gandhi, Blue Cross of India, the C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre (CPREEC), and a host of others, including celebrities and politicians.


On May 3, 2012, a human-sized mouse, holding a pink heart with the words, “Ban Cosmetic Testing on Animals” met, as part of a delegation of animal protection groups, with Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, Ministry of Environment and Forests, to thank the minister for making India the first country in the world to ban the use of  research on live animals in education and to ask her support for the cosmetics testing ban.


Dr. Chinny Krishna, member of the CPCSEA, wrote a letter, on behalf of HSI, CPREEC, and Blue Cross, to three ministries, including the Bureau of Indian Standards, which falls under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, presenting the case against animal cosmetics testing on the grounds that it is both cruel and entirely unnecessary.


Many thousands of people signed petitions and wrote letters to both the Bureau of Indian Standards and to the Drug Controller of India. Ms. Alokparna Sengupta, the HSI Campaign Manager for Be Cruelty Free, also served as a member of the Bureau of Indian Standards.



In November of 2012, HSI, CPREEC, and Blue Cross held a conference in Chennai, where Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), spoke out passionately against cosmetics testing on animals.


In the early weeks of December, on behalf of HSI, Dr. Chinny Krishna, drafted a suggested amendment to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, for a meeting that Maneka Gandhi was about to have with the Drug Controller General of India.


During December, the initiative to ban cosmetics testing picked up significant parliamentarian support. Legislators Ms. Debasree Roy, a well-known actress from West Bengal, and Shri Ramalinga Reddy, from Karnataka, wrote letters to the relevant ministries in support of the ban.


In January, a press conference was held in Kolkata, hosted jointly by HSI and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). Ms. Debasree Roy, attired as a white rabbit, spoke eloquently on the need to spare animals from any further suffering in cosmetics testing.


In the spring of 2013, at least ten elected representatives took part in HSI’s Be Cruelty Free campaign.  MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, from Odisha, called for the end of cosmetics testing on animals as soon as possible, lending his support to the use of alternative testing methods, now readily available, which are both cheap and effective. MP Suresh Kumar Shetkar, from Andhra Pradesh, made a similar appeal for the ending of archaic cosmetics testing on animals.



At the beginning of the year, Israel had banned the import of cosmetics tested on animals, following an earlier ban on conducting such testing within Israel.  In March, the EU followed suit with a similar ban, having also earlier banned cosmetics testing on animals within the EU.  Throughout 2012, HSI conducted a sustained, dynamic, global campaign with initiatives in the U.S., Brazil, Australia, South Korea, and other countries.




On June 28, 2013, the Bureau of Indian Standards modified the rules of the Drug Control Act, eliminating animal testing for cosmetics and requiring non-animal testing instead. At last, the use of animals in India for cosmetics testing was banned.


The wording of the ban was supported by Dr. Chinny Krishna, member of CPCSEA, Mrs. Norma Alvarez, Chairperson of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) and member of CPCSEA, and by leading Indian toxicology scientists and many Indian citizens.  In her role as HSI Campaign Manager, Ms. Alokparna Sengupta had provided the driving force behind the successful campaign.


With this major milestone, many thousands of animals have been spared suffering, mostly small animals; rabbits, mice, and guinea pigs.  Up until this time, companies had still been conducting testing.  In many cases, these were unnecessary, repetitive experiments, re-testing ingredients that had already been tested previously, for the sole purpose of being sure that companies could not be held liable in law suits. Now this kind of testing can no longer be done in India.


It is still possible to buy cosmetic products in India that have been tested on animals in other countries, but this ban is a huge leap forward in the struggle to ban all animal testing in India.  Like so many of India’s very enlightened animal laws, this establishes a model for the rest of the world to follow.


Dr. Chinny Krishna said, “With this ban now in effect, people using cosmetics that are made in India can be assured that these products were produced without any cruelty to animals.”


Thanks to all who played a role in this groundbreaking legislation. May the time soon come when no animals anywhere will be used in laboratories.


Top photo: /
Author Ravi Varna Studio  / Wikimedia Commons / “This work is in the public domain in India because its term of copyright has expired. This file may not be in the public domain outside India. The creator and year of publication are essential information and must be provided.” / “Ganesh sits affectionately with his vahana, Mushika [a mouse] (carved and painted ivory plaque, later 1900′s).” 


Second photo: 

Attribution: Larry D. Moore / This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. / Wikimedia Commons / A cottontail in the wild in Montana.


Third photo:

Author: Peter Maas / / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.” / Wikimedia Commons / A Syrian hamster filling his cheek pouches with Dandelion leaves. 




India: A grim reality — and a big victory in the fight to free animals from laboratories, part one

A macaque at Pavapatthu  sacred grove, not one of the Blue Cross monkeys.
A macaque at Pavapatthu sacred grove, not one of the Blue Cross monkeys.


Seven monkeys run and play together in the sun, in a large, open grass-covered area. They come and go freely indoors and out, where they’ve been for several years, at the Kunnam Center of Blue Cross of India, in the Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu.

Their lives weren’t always so happy.

The monkeys at Blue Cross came from laboratories, where they were used for experiments.

Companies that do testing on animals gloss over the reality of the life and death of the animals.  Usually they avoid mentioning animal testing altogether. Occasionally, on a TV show, an apparently happy animal may be shown, in lovely, sanitized surroundings, with seemingly caring people who are neatly dressed in white coats.  Who could object, when a well-fed mouse is shown obviously enjoying life in his clear plastic cage? The reality though is radically different, and, should you be in any doubt about this, you can read about the use of animals in laboratories on any number of websites which will give you the graphic details.

The circumstances in which lab animals live and die are terrible. In the end, they are, with rare exceptions, killed, so that the test results can be compiled into statistics.

The principle of laboratory testing on animals is to cause injury or sickness to the animal, so that possible cures or drugs can be tested.  When the testing is done for product safety, to prove that a product is “safe” for humans, the animal is given enough of the product to cause harm and injury to the animal – this is meant to indicate the level of safety of the product.  Suffering for the animals is inherent in the basic principles and practice of animal testing. The only way around causing suffering to lab animals is not to use animals in laboratories.

Five of the Blue Cross monkeys arrived, in a group with seven others who have since died, from the Christian Medical College and Hospital at Vellore, a city west of Chennai. There they had been used to study spinal injuries. First they were injured, then they were studied.

Two of the monkeys there are survivors of a group of five that came from A.L. Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Madras, where they had been used to study chemical burns. Again, the burns were first inflicted on the animals, then they were studied.

In all lab experiments, suffering and injury are first inflicted on the animals, to cause the condition that is to be researched, then they are studied.

Three guinea pigs in captivity.
Three guinea pigs in captivity.

Even if no injuries were ever caused to them, the use of animals in laboratories would still be cruel. In the case of these monkeys, they were captured as youngsters in the wild; the mere fact of removing an animal from the wild and putting him or her into a small cage causes intense suffering to any wild creature.  As for those who are bred in captivity, they have never even known a life of freedom in nature.

Cosmetics testing

The monkeys at Blue Cross were not used in cosmetics testing; however, many animals are, and it’s important to be aware that testing for cosmetics is no kinder than any other form of animal testing. No, the animals do not simply put on a bit of lipstick or some mascara, and then gaze at themselves in the mirror. Because the tests are meant to measure toxicity, they cause painful injury and death.

That is the grim reality.

A baby rabbit.
A baby rabbit in the wild.

A landmark victory


In June, 2013, a major victory was won in India, with the banning of the use of lab animals for cosmetics testing.  No more animals can be used in labs in India to test cosmetics or the ingredients in cosmetics. The ban will save many thousands of animals from suffering.

On April 20, 2012,  Humane Society International launched its Be-Cruelty Free campaign with the aim of bringing a worldwide halt to the testing of cosmetics on animals. The banning of animal cosmetics testing in India a year later is a resounding victory for the animals.

The tireless work that led up to this victory goes back fifty years. In 1965, Blue Cross held a seminar, Animals in Research, in which they called for a ban to be imposed on all use of animals for cosmetics testing.

In 1996, the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision on Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA), with parliamentarian and animal advocate Maneka Gandhi as the chairperson, adopted two resolutions related to animal experimentation. The first called for a ban on all experimentation on animals in secondary schools.

The second resolution called for the banning of all use of animals for cosmetics testing.

The decades long struggle to bring about this ban is based on the fact that while medical experimentation, which is equally cruel, may be believed to save human lives (a point that is contested by animal advocates), no such argument can be made on behalf of cosmetics. Cosmetics are not a life or death issue for humans, and not wearing cosmetics will not kill any of us. So a ban on cosmetics testing is a good place to start, and offers a toehold in the fight against all testing on animals.

To be continued…

To read part two, click here.


Top photo: Sharon St Joan / A wild macaque at Pavupatthu sacred grove.


Second photo: Author Mikerussell at en.wikipedia /

/ Wikimedia Commons / Three guinea pigs in captivity.


Third photo: Ksd5 / “This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.” / Wikimedia commons. / A baby rabbit.

India: Chennai: Bailing out Moksha, Mukti and all their friends, Part One

Moksha and Mukti
Moksha and Mukti

Moksha and Mukti almost missed the chance to spend their days playing tug of war with Ruffles, a gigantic yellow lab.  Ruffles is incredibly gentle with them.  They like to play with slippers, which is forbidden, but never mind.  The slippers end up on the sofa or outside in the garden.

The two adorable puppies arrived as part of a batch of 70 rescued beagle puppies. 45 went to the home of Dr. Nanditha and Dr. Chinny Krishna to be adopted out to carefully screened, loving homes.  All were healthy except that Mukti had a worrying spinal problem, and Moksha was rather skinny, so, naturally, these were the two that Dr. Nanditha Krishna decided to keep.

In November of 2012, a PETA representative had seen the 70 beagle puppies at the Customs Office in Chennai and had informed the CPCSEA (Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals) out of concern for the puppies.

In response, one of the CPCSEA committee members, Dr. Chinny Krishna, who is also Vice-Chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India, looked into the circumstances of the puppies and how they came to be held by Customs.

Marshall BioResources, an American company in China, had bred the beagles and shipped them to India to be used for laboratory experiments.  They had been shipped on Cathay Pacific, although the airline had voluntarily undertaken not to ship any animals destined for laboratories.  The puppies had been mislabeled as “pets.”

There was a larger legal issue as well. It turned out that the CPCSEA had previously given ADVINUS labs, in Bangalore, permission to use 430 beagles in lab tests. ADVINUS is a toxicology testing lab that does contract laboratory testing for foreign companies – mostly pharmaceutical and agrochemical testing.

As a government body whose function is to regulate the use of animals in laboratories; the CPCSEA has no authority to prohibit testing; its powers are limited to ensuring that all guidelines are followed.

The question at hand was, did ADVINUS import the puppies legally?

Although ADVINUS, a member of the group of TATA companies, did have permission to use 430 beagles in testing, apparently those tests had already been completed.  It seemed that the 70 beagles were imported afterwards, and that would mean they were imported illegally.

When Dr. Krishna learned about the plight of the beagles, who were stuck in the Quarantine Station, he called the Chairman of ADVINUS, who was in Mumbai, and told him, that it looked like “these animals have been brought here illegally.”

The ADVINUS Chairman then flew from Mumbai to Chennai, with another company officer.  Joined by their chief vet in Bangalore, the three from ADVINUS sat down for a meeting with Dr. Krishna, and Dr. Shiranee Periera, of People for Animals (PFA), also a CPCSEA member.

Known worldwide, the TATA group has an excellent reputation for being above board. The ADVINUS company Chairman insisted that the puppies had not entered India illegally and said that he would fight the charge.  However, he also expressed a wish not to have the puppies suffer any further distress and said he wanted to release them so that homes could be found for them.

Normally, the puppies would be quarantined for 45 days, but the 70 puppies had already been in quarantine for 60 days, kept in cages the whole time, two to a cage.  It must have felt to them like being in jail. ADVINUS wanted them released for adoption, even though this meant that the company  had spent about $25,000 to procure the puppies and would be charged for their time spent in quarantine.

ADVINUS provided papers, legally releasing the puppies to the Animal Welfare Board of India, with the arrangement that they would then be consigned to the animal welfare organization, Blue Cross of India. The story wasn’t quite over yet though.  Getting an agreement for the puppies to be released was one thing, but actually obtaining their physical release was a different thing altogether. There were more hurdles to go.

Maneka Gandhi, well-known animal rights advocate who has held a number of ministerial posts in the government, and Dr. Chinny Krishna, spent a marathon of three weeks of intense negotiations for the actual, real transfer of the puppies out of Quarantine.

Talks took place with the TATA company, with the Quarantine people, with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Finance (in charge of Customs and Excise), and the Ministry of Environment and Forests.  There were visits to Finance Committees, to Customs officials in both Delhi and Chennai, and requests to about 30 other officials.  It took a lot of work….

To be continued in Part Two; click here.     

Photo: Dr. Chinny Krishna

To visit the website of Blue Cross of India, click here.  

Egypt: Workshop promotes alternatives to animal testing

Pic 50 workshop

By ESAF (Egyptian Society of Animal Friends)

This is an excerpt from ESAF’s report on the workshop.


The Second Egyptian Seminar on Alternatives to Animal Experiments in Education and Training was organized by ESAF (the Egyptian Society of Animal Friends) in association with the Biological and Geological Departments of the Faculty of Education at Ain Shams University.


The workshop brought together teachers, students, researchers, representatives of the General Organization of Veterinary Services, animal activists,  campaigning organizations, media, and others to promote and help implement replacement alternatives across Egypt.


These were some of the topics covered:

Animal Care in Arabic culture

Alternatives to Animal Dissection

The Role of Civil Societies and Media in Animal Care

The Role of Curricula in Developing Awareness about Endangered Animals

The Use of Cells and Tissue Cultures as Alternatives to Animal Experiments


The Psychological, Educational, and Scientific Impact of Using Alternatives to Animal Experiments by Students

Legislation for Animal Care in Egyptian Law


There were lively discussions and debates, as one would expect (and hope for) at such a workshop.  It was wonderful to see so many young people so actively involved…



To visit the Facebook page of ESAF, click here. (Some content may be disturbing.)


Photo: Courtesy of ESAF


The EU bans the sale of animal-tested cosmetics



In a March 11, 2013 article the BBC reported that the EU has banned the sale of all animal-tested cosmetics. The ban was announced on Monday.


The 27 countries of the EU, in 2009, banned the testing on animals of cosmetics in their countries.  This ban goes further, and prohibits the sale in Europe of cosmetics tested on animals in other countries.


Products already being sold will not be affected.  All new cosmetic products, however, will not be able to be sold in the EU, if they have been tested on animals anywhere in the world.


Groups like BUAV in the UK, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), and Humane Society International (HSI), as well as others, have campaigned for many years to bring about this ban.


This is a significant step on the path to eliminating all animal testing.  It reflects and reinforces the view of many that all animal testing is inhumane and should be stopped.


To read the original article in the BBC online edition, click here  


Photo: © Creativenature1 | / A mouse in the woods.