The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest will soon slap a show cause notice on a Bangalore-based research firm that illegally imported over 400 Chinese beagle puppies for purported research, two years after its experiment got over.
Addressing a press conference, Union Environment and Forest Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said Bangalore-based pharma lab Advinus had sought permission to import 434 beagle puppies for conducting experiments on behalf of a US-based firm.
It was the sixth consignment of 70 puppies that arrived at the Chennai airport in October, which drew the attention of PETA officials and vice chairman of Animal Welfare Board of India Dr Chinny Krishnan.
The documents showed that the puppies, which were four to nine months old, were imported via Cathay Pacific airlines as pets. Officials later found that the pups were meant for conducting toxicology experiments for a US-based firm.
The lab had already conducted experiments using 270 puppies in 2010.
Natarajan said her ministry wanted to know the fate of the remaining puppies. “The experiment is already over in 2010, so we want to know what were they are going to do with the 434 puppies. Although we don’t know the fate of the earlier batch of puppies, which were being imported since last year, we are curious about the fate of 70 puppies,” said the minister, who visited the Animal Quarantine Department and Certification Station at Pallikaranai.
The issue will also be discussed by the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experimentation on Animals (CPCSEA) on Monday.
Any research is welcome in India but it should follow strict guidelines. “India follows the ahimsa doctrine and voiceless animals should not be misused,” she said. Natarajan added that her ministry intends to make a new Bill on animal welfare more stringent.
At present, there are 1,600 registered labs in India, some of which could be illegally importing animals for research, the minister feared.