Union Minister of Women & Child Development Ms Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, in a note,wrote to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding suspension of the Draize practice, followed by representations from Humane Society International/India, People for Animals and other stakeholders. Consequently, the now infamous test that was used to evaluate the safety of cosmetics and other personal care products using live animals is now prohibited by the Ministry.
Developed in 1944 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) toxicologist Dr. John Henry Draize, the cruel practice was in use since the last 70 years.
In the eye version of the test, rabbits are placed in restraining stocks so that they cannot struggle or wipe their eyes. Their eyelids are pulled apart, and the substance is dripped, sprayed or rubbed onto the eye. The eyelids are then held together for a moment to ensure that the substance is all over the eye. The rabbits are then observed in order to determine whether or not irritation occurs over the next three days. They are usually monitored for a further three weeks before being either killed or, if there is no permanent damage to the eye, reused after a “wash-out” period that removes traces of the previously tested product. It’s hard to say which fate is better. In the similarly horrific skin test, test substances are typically rubbed onto the shaved backs of rabbits to check for the severity of the reaction over a period of two weeks, before they are killed or “washed out” and reused.