Dept to inspect animal testing lab

Posted on June 13, 2010. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

-The Star- BUKIT MERTAJAM: The Veterinary Services Department will send a team of officers to inspect Progenix Research Sdn Bhd, the animal testing laboratory in Bukit Minyak here, and close it if there is animal abuse.

The company will be ordered to close if the department finds elements of animal cruelty in its operations, said department director-general Datuk Dr Abd Aziz Jamaluddin.

“Research companies should instead use tissue culture, as is done in many developed nations that have enacted stringent laws against the use of animals for drugs and cosmetics research,” he said when contacted in Beijing yesterday.

On Saturday, The Star reported on a facility believed to be using animals for testing in Seberang Prai for the past three years.

Animal lovers were up in arms recently over the setting up of a proposed animal testing laboratory in Malacca.

Progenix said in its website that it is an independent contract research organisation offering toxicology services to worldwide pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, agrochemical and others.

The website added it conducted canine toxicology tests on beagles, toxicology on monkeys from the cynomolgus macaque and/or rhesus macaque as well as tests on rodents and rabbits.

The beagles were used in pre-clinical toxicity testing of pharmaceuticals and certain chemicals such as agrochemicals and biocides at the RM52mil facility at the Penang Science Park, Bukit Minyak.

Dr Abd Aziz said although animal welfare laws here were not as stringent as those in developed nations, the Animal Act 2006 could still be used to persecute those who treated animals cruelly.

“If animal testing cannot be conducted in the United States or Europe, I see no reason why they should be allowed here,” he said, adding that Malaysia should follow international standards on such issues.

Penang Development Corporation general manager Datuk Rosli Jaafar confirmed that Progenix Research was located in the Penang Science Park – which is under the purview of the corporation.

He is preparing a report on the matter for Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is away on an official trip to Germany.

“I understand that the Chief Minister will give a press statement on this issue when he returns next week,” he said.

A check at the facility yesterday showed there were no cars parked inside, probably because the company did not operate on weekends.

Several calls made to the company went unanswered.

Former director-general of the Wildlife and National Parks Department Mohd Khan Momin Khan said if such activities were allowed to continue, it would only give the country a bad name.

Public activist and animal lover Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the authorities concerned should insist that research companies look at other methods for testing.

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