The release of 70 beagle puppies from the Government of India Quarantine Centre in Pallikaranai, near here, has been withheld after a Central government panel that regulates experimentation on animals found some violations in documentation.

The puppies were imported from China by a Bangalore-based laboratory and they landed at the Chennai airport on October 19.

Anjani Kumar, Member Secretary, Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experimentation on Animals (CPCSEA), told The Hindu that the committee had found certain violations in the documentation of the private laboratory. “We are checking their documentation for the import of beagles from China. Until our investigation is completed, the beagles will not be released from the Quarantine Centre,” he said.

The original quarantine period was over on Sunday. The committee informed both the quarantine centre officials and Customs officials at the Chennai airport not to allow the release of puppies till the investigation was over and the report submitted by the committee, he said.

Preliminary investigation revealed that there was a mismatch in terms of number of animals requested by the Bangalore-based laboratory, the number imported by them and the number of animals really used for various tests by the laboratory. Hence, the CPCSEA had withheld the release of puppies, he said.

A senior official from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, under which the committee functions, said the puppies were imported by the laboratory for conducting terminal toxicity tests on them. The laboratory is carrying out tests on a contract basis for several chemical companies with their headquarters abroad. The contract was awarded to this laboratory as they had fulfilled the norms laid down by regulatory agencies, such as Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United States Environment Protection Agency.

Available information showed that OECD test guidelines were a collection of the most relevant internationally agreed test methods used by the government, industry and independent laboratories to determine the safety of chemicals and chemical preparations, including pesticides and industrial chemical.

Chaitanya Koduri, Science Policy Advisor, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), welcomed the decision to withhold the release of the puppies. There was no response to calls made to the private laboratory’s telephone numbers.

  • Finds violations in documentation of private lab  

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