A lab in the Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Uttarakhand, was sealed by the state’s forest department and an action was taken against the head of department after 28 snakes, three scorpions and a bat were found dead in the lab.
A 14-feet-long king cobra, weighing around 8 kgs, was recently killed and stored in the lab among other dead snakes that included species like the cobras, saw scaled and Russell’s viper, common kraits and some non-venomous ones.
The forest department acted following information provided by People for Animals (PFA) Uttarakhand which has exposed major violations of rules in the animal experimentation carried out at the institute lab in the past. According to PFA's Uttarakhand state secretary, Gauri Maulekhi, the reptiles were discovered in the lab of the Forensics and Toxicology department at HIMS following a tip off received from sources in the institute. However the institute authorities claimed that they took the reptiles from a villager who brought the creatures to them. This action is a clear violation of Wildlife Protection Act Section 9 for which the head of the department should be charged. The institute did not maintain any records of the purchases.
In the past as well, PFA has documented mistreatment of animals and blatant violations of rules in the HIMS’ animal housing facility that resulted in a Government Order being sent to the institute to suspend all animal experiments.