NEW DELHI, INDIA (Times of India) - Caged rats are being gassed to death by various airlines to test the efficacy of their aircraft cabin fumigation. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has now complained to Mumbai airport authorities to stop the 'barbaric' practice at the domestic terminal immediately.
A whistleblower in Mumbai had earlier alerted PETA about live caged rats kept inside a chamber filled with poisonous gases like methyl bromide. The fumigation was deemed to be successful if the rat suffocated and died. The whistleblower also helped the activists rescue a white rat which had been used by an airline at Mumbai airport's domestic air terminal.
PETA then fired off a letter to the Mumbai office of the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and met the regional manager to urge the agency to immediately stop testing its airplane cabin fumigation process on live rats.
"There is no excuse for suffocating rats with poisonous gas when sophisticated gas detectors have been in use for years,'' said PETA's Dr Chaitanya Koduri. "We have asked CWC to stop this barbaric and illegal practice immediately. If it refuses, we will ask the civil aviation department and AAI to force it to stop,'' he asserted.
When contacted, regional manager of the Central Warehousing Corporation Major Santokh Singh denied that live rats were used to test the fumigation process. He, however, admit to receiving PETA's complaint. The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), which comes under the ministry of environment and forests, has also written to the CWC on the issue.
In its letter, PETA points out that apart from breaching the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960), the gassing violates the guidelines of the Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage, Faridabad. The guidelines clearly state that gas-detection equipment should be used to test the effectiveness of the fumigation process. Also, under the law, it is illegal to administer an injurious drug or substance to any animal or cause an animal to suffer.
PETA has reported this violation to the director general of the civil aviation and the Airports Authority of India. It also explains that international bodies-such as NATO ( North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and WHO ( World Health Organization)-have proposed several methods of fumigation that have been tried and tested for regular use in aircraft cabins. None of these procedures requires use of live animals.
Copyright 2015 Times of India
Updated 1247 days ago Article ID# 1530659