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BIS replaces guinea pig test for pathogen detection

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New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) A test used on guinea pigs to detect and identify pathogenic organisms that make animal feed unfit for consumption has been replaced by another standard test by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

The move will save countless guinea pigs from painful deaths due to injection of pathogens, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA-India) said in a statement. The BIS move followed PETA recommendations, the body said.

The BIS’ Animal Husbandry, Feeds and Equipment subcommittee — which oversees animal husbandry, feed, and equipment — has replaced the test.

The BIS is a national standards body working under the aegis of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

The standard ‘Methods of Tests for Animal Feeds and Feeding Stuffs, Part 3: Microbiological Methods’ has been approved by the Food and Agriculture Division Council, which is under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

The foreword to the published revised standard states that “the new methods incorporated in this standard are based on Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), which are not only very precise and sensitive but also preclude the use of guinea pigs for laboratory testing.”

“PETA-India lauds the national standards body for embracing this science-backed change, and we look forward to working with it to replace all animal tests with superior, non-animal research methods in the Indian Standards,” PETA-India Science Policy Adviser Dr Dipti M Kapoor said.

PETA-India notes that in the confirmatory tests in question, guinea pigs were injected with a feed sample.

If bacterium Bacillus anthracis or its spores — which cause life-threatening anthrax disease that can spread from animals to humans — were present, the animals endured slow, agonising deaths that stretched to as long as 48 hours, as they bled internally and their internal organs became filled with blood and fluids.




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