Scientists wary of proposed Animal law

Scientists wary of proposed Animal law

While the existing Prevention of Cruelty to the Animals Act exempts scientists from carrying out animal experiments for drug research and biological studies, there is no such safeguard in the proposed bill, moved by former environment minister Jairam Ramesh.

The ministry released the controversial bill in February seeking public comments. But it is the second draft—not released in the public domain but circulated for an inter-ministerial discussion—which has become more contentious because of the Rs 1 crore-fine provision. The “offending institute” will also have to pay a fine of Rs 25 crore.

“It’s a draconian proposal. The draft has several options against scientific studies. What’s the justification of bringing out the new draft?” wondered D Balasubramanian, former director of Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology. “This is absurd. Most of the scientists do not earn Rs 1 crore in their career,” said Krishan Lal, President of Indian National Science Academy and former director of National Physical Laboratory, here.

 Balasubramanian said the definition of animals given in the draft would also stifle research involving bacteria, fruit fly and zebra fish as all them could be defined as “any living being other than human” – as per the new draft.

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