NEW DELHI: IRIS Science Fair, one of India’s largest student science competition, will not allow any kind of experimentation on animals from 2014 as its organizers have decided to put a ban on their use.
The decision to amend the rules of the competition by Initiative for Research and Innovation in Science (IRIS) and Intel Technology India Pvt Ltd came following discussions with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), India.
IRIS is a cooperative effort between Intel, the Confederation of Indian Industry and the government’s Department of Science and Technology.
Although IRIS reports that animal use is rare, current rules allow for a variety of experiments on animals with 49 per cent chances of them being killed during an experiment.
In appreciation of the move, PETA will be awarding Intel and IRIS each with its Compassionate Action Award.
“By prohibiting experiments on animals, Intel and IRIS will be ensuring that no mice, rats or other animals will suffer or die for a student’s project,” says Chaitanya Koduri, PETA India’s Science Policy Adviser.
“PETA will continue to help ensure that young scientists around the world are using the most modern and humane research methods available,” he said.
The new IRIS guidelines read, “Projects involving animal subjects or animal data are limited to … [u]se of data from pre-existing, publicly available resources [or] … observational or behavioural projects that involve animals in their natural environment”. All the projects should strictly comply with The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
Following discussions with PETA US last year, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair — the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, of which IRIS is a precursor — amended its rules to ban deadly experiments on animals and strongly endorsed the use of non-animal research methods.
The popular Google Science Fair’s rules also ban all experiments on animals, stipulating that only data gathered from past experiments or from observations of animals in their natural environment may be used.