In a landmark decision that will bring cheer to animal right advocates, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) Dr GN Singh on Monday issued a directive to indefinitely suspend tests of cosmetic products on animals.
This means that the tests on animals will be stopped until adequately validated non-animal methods are included in the current safety standards.
The decision comes after several months of deliberations by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BSI) and DCGI on continuing tests on animals at a time when, internationally, the European Union (EU) has already initiated a phased banning of animal tests, set to be completed next month.
The BSI committee sets the standards for animal tests conducted by several cosmetics companies in the country.
Last month, Maneka Gandhi, a member of Parliament from Aonla, Madhya Pradesh had met with Dr Singh to discuss the deletion of animal tests from the cosmetics safety standard.
Alokparna Sengupta, campaigner for Humane Society International (India), said that the decision is a big step towards stopping cruelty towards animals.
“We had met Mrs Maneka Gandhi in December to discuss our suggestions and proposals and we also had a meeting with Dr Singh and were a part of Monday’s meeting.” said Sengupta.
“This move will ensure our regulations on animal testing will be at par with international standards,” she added.
Along with HIS India, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)’s science policy adviser Dr Chaitanya Koduri and representatives of Hindustan Unilever Limited, L’Oreal and Johnson and Johnson were present during Monday’s meeting.
More than 1,300 companies across the world have banned all animal tests.