Following an appeal from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, the Central Insecticides Board & Registration Committee (CIB-RC) for pesticides within the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare formed a committee, consisting of PETA India and other stakeholders, to review the "Guidance Document on Toxicology for Registration of Pesticides in India". Several meetings and discussions have been held since 2015, and the CIB-RC has now made several changes to the guidance document, such as providing criteria for waiving certain tests on animals and accepting non-animal testing methods that will reduce by the thousands the number of animals used in pesticide toxicological evaluations.
Several methods that replace, reduce, or refine the use of animals will now be accepted, such as the refinement of a skin allergy test that will prevent experimenters from rubbing chemicals onto guinea pigs' skin. Also, animal tests that assess effects on the immune and neurological systems are no longer compulsory for all pesticides – instead, the CIB-RC will consider all existing data before requiring the studies. For other tests, the board has modified the protocols so that far fewer animals will be required.
"The future of science lies in reliable animal-free testing methods," says PETA India Science Policy Adviser Dr Rohit Bhatia. "PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to experiment on" – will continue to work with the CIB-RC towards a day when no mouse, rat, rabbit, dog, guinea pig, or other animal is poisoned or blinded with chemicals for any product test."