Fatal treatment

at least 200 horses died during 1999-2000 at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine, Chennai, because of non-adherence to any scientific protocol for production of anti-snake venom serum ( asvs) and authorities' neglect and apathy. This was stated in an inspection report of experts.

The institute specialises in the production of vaccines and sera including anti-rabies vaccines. But it lacks basic requirements of a sterile room for collection of horse blood for asvs production, claim the experts. It does not have an ethical code of animal experimentation and was using arbitrary methods for producing of the serums.

"Many horses are suffering from severe cases of hoof rot. They are bleeding and are infected with maggots,' the inspection team said, adding that no medical records of the animals were being maintained. The report further states that the institute authorities are not even aware of World Health Organisation's norms regarding production of asvs . Moreover, blind, lame, handicapped, anemic and sick horses are even being subjected to such cruel treatment, adds the report.

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