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India issues guidelines for giving dogs a home

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Dogs used in experiments must be found a home after 3 years

Officials in India have issued new guidelines to find homes for dogs used in experiments which do not result in their death.  Under the new rules, dogs may only be subjected to tests for a maximum of three years, after which time they must be rehabilitated. Animal welfare organisations will work with animal research laboratories to find families to adopt the dogs.

In addition, the reuse of dogs in experiments is now regulated much more stringently. Dogs may only be reused when they have not suffered adverse effects or their welfare compromised in a previous experiment.  

Any reuse will also have to carry the special permission of the Indian Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experimentation on Animals (CPCSEA). Dogs who are not reused will also be rehabilitated and adopted, where possible.

Around the world, healthy dogs who are no longer required by laboratories are routinely killed.  Cruelty Free International is opposed to the use of dogs in experiments but also believes that steps can be made to change the lives of individual animals in laboratories.

We are calling on governments to introduce mandatory homing where possible for these animals.

Last week, we welcomed new guidance from the UK Government on how laboratories can release animals who are considered suitable for a new life in a loving home. The guidance comes following a campaign by Cruelty Free International for animals to be released from laboratories wherever possible. 

The move in India is the result of years of work by Dr Shiranee Tettamanti Pereira, co-founder of People for Animals (Chennai) and newly appointed India Campaigns Manager for Cruelty Free International.  Dr Pereira has worked tirelessly to improve conditions for dogs in Indian laboratories, and has been responsible for homing hundreds of beagles from laboratories since 2000.

Dr Pereira said, "India has taken an important step towards the ultimate goal of ending experiments on dogs. The new guidelines will ensure that the suffering endured by each dog in experiments is regulated. And importantly it will give them the opportunity of having freedom and quality of life for many years after the experiments have finished.  We call on the rest of the world to follow India's lead, because dogs belong in loving homes and not laboratories.”

Cruelty Free International Chief Executive Michelle Thew and Senior Research Scientist Dr Jarrod Bailey have both presented their work to the Indian authorities, showing why science—as well as ethics—demands a move away from experiments on dogs that are poorly relevant for humans.

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