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Indian actress wades in on animal testing debate

By Simon Pitman , 28-Jan-2013

Animal testing on cosmetics is becoming a hot topic in India, as veteran actress Debasree Roy joins a campaign to fight against it and adds to a growing chorus of protests.

The actress spoke against the testing of cosmetics on animals at a press conference held in Mumbai at the end of last week, which was jointly hosted by the Animal Welfare Board of India, The Humane Society and the actress’s own foundation.

During the presentation, Roy called on the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad and the Drug Controller General of India, Dr. G.N. Singh to take action by making decisive steps towards implementing a ban.

Posing the question as to why action is not being taken

“Why is the Government of India still lagging in making a decision that is so simple?” said Roy, who then went on to compare India’s regulation on animal testing to international markets.

“Animal testing bans across the European Union and Israel prove that cosmetics animal suffering is completely unnecessary. India must embrace the modern non-animal technologies available that offer more reliable test results than researching on rabbits and mice."

The event was also used to promote the Leaping Bunny logo, which has been promoted worldwide by the Humane Society as a means of identifying cosmetic and personal care products that have not in any  way been tested on animals.

Roy joins Indian statesman Ramalinga Reddy, to add pressure

The move by Roy is similar to that of Indian statesman Ramalinga Reddy, who earlier this month came out publicly to urge the Drug Controller General to take swift action to end animal testing of cosmetics in the country.

The Member of Legislative Assembly wrote to India’s Ministers of Health, Environment, as well as Consumer Affairs/President of the Bureau of Indian Standards and pledged his support for HSI’s Be Cruelty-Free campaign, saying India must not be left behind in the global effort to eliminate cruelty in the cosmetics industry.

While Reddy’s letter addressed the three key regulators for safety testing of cosmetics and animal experimentation in India, the addition of Roy’s voice to the campaign could add further impetus to moves that will bring India in line with some of the leading cosmetic markets worldwide.

The Indian government has said that it is investigating the matter of imposing a blanket ban of animal testing on cosmetics, and has confirmed that the Bureau of Indian Standards has been in on-going discussions to revise the IS 4011 standard that currently governs this area.

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