The Union Health Ministry has directed senior officials to look into reports of "cruelty" being meted out to animals used for research at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The directive was given by Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss after he received a petition from former Health Minister Shatrughan Sinha on behalf of the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
"The concerned official in the ministry is being asked to look into the matter for appropriate action," Ramadoss replied to the letter by Sinha.
Sinha had written that "health concerns can never justify the sort of cruelty to animals recently found at AIIMS".
"I appeal to you please do kindly consider immediately rectificatory action as per requests made by PETA INDIA," he said.
The former Health Minister asked Ramadoss to ensure that the animals at AIIMS are quickly rehabilitated and steps taken to promote the use of humane and widely available non-animal alternatives at AIIMS and other restoration facilities.
Recent reports had alleged that the AIIMS may have disregarded rules in its treatment of animals kept for testing.
Using animals for medical research and testing drugs is permitted under Indian laws but is covered by well laid down rules to protect animals from abuse.