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Health Ministry prohibits the Draize test on rabbits


Health Ministry prohibits the Draize test on rabbits

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.

In light of the fact that  there lacks a clear relationship between rabbit and human eye responses and the anatomy and cellular makeup of skin varies among different species, the test results remain irrelevant for humans.
Research to replace the Draize tests started in the 1980s, and in 2009 two alternative methods for assessing eye irritation were accepted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the international body responsible for producing and validating international test guidelines. Replacements for the skin irritation test using small discs of human skin cells grown in laboratories have also been accepted and validated by the OECD. India has been a full adherent to the OECD deecision regarding Mutual Acceptance of Data since 2011. The OECD estimates that adherence to MAD saves more than €150 million and scores of animals per year by avoiding needlessly duplicative testing.
“This is a historic decision by the health ministry. Thousands of rabbits will now be spared from one of the most cruel and infamous experiments on rabbits known to mankind,” Alokparna Sengupta, Deputy Director of HSI/India said.



Source: with inputs
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