In the late eighties an Indian was demonstrating the skill of his bear in ‘Festival of India’ in Germany. Members of a humanist group caught hold of the man and he was sent back to India. It was not the skill of the animal but the brute torture meted to it that compelled the bear to demonstrate. It was a case of slow torture throughout the life of the bear. If there is fierce atomic invasion it may annihilate the whole life in no time. Even if there is pain it would be for a small fraction of a second. But the atomic plants have created a horror in the world.
The leakage of radioactive substances at intervals in the 400 odd such plants have crippled crores of people. A large number suffers from cancer and other pain giving ailments. That is what man has been doing to animals—testing so many things on them for long periods.
The experiments on animals were conducted in developed countries. They imported a large number of animals from India and other backward countries. India banned the export of these animals in 1978. The multinationals responsible for such activities started moving their laboratories to India. Many of them gave the work to their subsidiaries in this country.
A large number of small pharmaceutical firms offered their services to these laboratories. They established their own laboratories for performing the experiments and selling the results. It may be unbelievable—these are backed by University Grants Commission (UGC), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Strange enough the very government that put a ban on the export of animals for such experiments sanctioned Rs. 4.35 crore in the Fifth and Seventh Plans for the same.
Primates i.e. animals having similarity to man (monkeys, apes, lemurs and tarsiers-all mammals) are the worst affected. The others are cows, goats, rats, rabbits, dogs, cats, pigs and hamsters.
According to Iqbal Malik, a well known zoologist and animal welfare activist a large number of animals are maimed, cut, boiled, skinned alive, scalded, ripped apart, frozen, flayed, blinded, battered, drugged, isolated, overfed or starved—all in the name of improving human life.
To observe the behavior surgery is done on spinal nerves in the neck and thorax of rats for the study of treatment of pain. Experiments are done to cut the head of a monkey to be fixed on the neck of another. To test the amount of squeezing a skull the head of a cat is squeezed within steel plates. Heart attacks (myocardial infaction) are tested on dogs.
Some animals are tested for radiation effect. They are exposed to 70 degree radiation. One of the most horrible experiments is bandaging or stitching the eye of a newborn rhesus monkey. It is kept in this stage for 257 to 635 days to prove the length of period that may make one blind. Fiercer still is the experiment of putting on animal in a drum and rotating it with a speed of 60 times a minute.
Animals are, also infected with diseases like hepatitis (Jaundice), rabies and tuberculosis. The most ignoble thing is to test animals for cosmetics and toiletries. Rhesus monkeys are forced to eat lipstick and other cosmetics to test the safety of making human face beautiful. In Draize eye-test chemicals are dripped into their eyes making them blind. Artificial insemination of eggs and embryo transfer experiment among high milk producing animals are no less painful.
The most abominable experiment is of introducing human syphilis bacteria in rabbits. It has resulted in pus filled portions in the genitals of thousands of rabbits. According to animal welfare activists in vitro research is effective in a large number of cases like virus vaccine production, vaccine potency testing and studying the function and make up of cell membranes.
According to latest research computer stimulating programmes can be helpful in testing organ tissue and cell culture, cellular systems, salivary gland secretion and isolators and recombinators. Still the laboratories use the in-vivo tests as a short cut. Efforts have been made by many animal friend organizations to stop such in-vivo tests. In India too we require a mass consciousness to stop this cruelty to animals.