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Stop gassing rats to test efficacy of fumigation, activists say.

Mumbai The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has asked the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) to stop testing its aircraft cabin fumigation process on "live" rats at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) and other airports across India.

The AWBI has taken up the issue with CWC as it is one of the leading warehousing companies in India that offers fumigation services to the CSIA and other airports in the country.

In his letter to Major Santokh Singh, regional manager of CWC, AWBI chairman R.M. Kharb takes a strong exception to the use of "live" rats to test the efficacy of fumigation -- an act that he says is both "illegal" and "cruel".

"No live animals of any kind are required for the fumigation tests you are currently undertaking. In fact, it is illegal to subject healthy and live animals to death by poisoning under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Your use of live rats in fumigation tests irrefutably causes animals to suffer and should, therefore, be stopped without delay," Kharb writes in the letter.

Kharb points out that according to the guidelines stipulated by the federal Ministry of Agriculture concerning the application of methyl bromide in fumigation, gas monitoring equipment such as a Riken gas indicator, fumiscope or Gow-Mac should be used to measure the amount of gas needed for pest control.

"Test readings can easily be taken by using probes placed in designated spots in the cabin and other areas of the aircraft," Kharb says, as he asks the CWC to take immediate "corrective" measures in the matter.

Peta response

Meanwhile, another animal rights group -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) -- has written a similar letter to the CWC, opposing testing the fumigation process on live rats.

The Peta has said that the use of "live" rats for fumigation is a "breach" of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and also the guidelines of the Faridabad-based Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Apr 3, 2012
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