The Taitung Animal Propagation Station’s recognition by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) bodes well for the nation’s development of laboratory animals and its efforts to bring the industry in line with international standards, Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) said.
Chen made the remarks on Friday last week at the unveiling ceremony of an accreditation plaque the association awarded to the station in February for its efforts to breed Lanyu miniature pigs for biomedical and laboratory research.
“The application of the mini-pigs in future medical research will also help boost the international competitiveness and visibility of Taiwan’s medical technology industry,” Chen said.
After introducing the black-coated miniature pigs from Lanyu (蘭嶼) in 1980, the station began breeding a selection of the species and has since bred four mini-pig breeds.
One is called the spotty Lanyu pig, which was first observed in 1993.
During the breed selection of the spotted mini-pigs in 2001, the first batch of white-coated pigs, which the facility named binlang pigs, appeared.
According to the station, the white binlang pigs are particularly suitable for experimental research related to transplant medicine, plastic surgery and cosmetic products and they have become a popular breed of laboratory mini-pig.
The facility said it has supplied several hundred binlang pigs to research centers both in Taiwan and overseas.
The station, which falls under the administration of the council’s Livestock Research Institute, applied for association accreditation three years ago in collaboration with the Chinese-Taipei Society of Laboratory Animal Sciences.
The AAALAC is a private, non-profit organization that aims to promote the humane treatment of animals used for scientific and medical research purposes. It has issued certifications to more than 880 institutions in 37 nations.