A proposed program to use live animals, including 14 beagle puppies, in rabies experiments was given the green light on Wednesday by experts at a meeting held by the Council of Agriculture’s Animal Health Research Institute.
The program is part of a rabies vaccine research initiative and is to use 220 specific pathogen-free mice (instead of the 210 reported previously), 36 healthy ferret-badgers and 14 beagles ranging from six to 12 months old.
The program has concerned animal protection activists, including Chu Tseng-hung (朱增宏), chief executive officer of the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan, who said that the council should not proceed with the plan.
Chu was among nine people who attended the review meeting, which was chaired by Animal Health Research Institute director-general Tsai Hsiang-jung (蔡向榮).
There was no vote on the issue, because the program won the consent of all of the animal-testing experts at the meeting, Chu said.
Other participants at the meeting included four institute officials, former National Laboratory Animal Center director Simon Liang (梁善居) and representatives from the Animal Protection Association and the Chinese Taipei Society of Laboratory Animal Sciences.
In a bid to prevent the program from being carried out, Chu said he was to file a motion at a planned meeting of the council’s animal protection consultants yesterday.
He said the authorities should follow the example of advanced foreign countries.
This could include inviting more experts in various fields to review any proposals to use pets, including dogs and cats, or primates in animal testing, Chu, who was formerly a Buddhist monk, added.
If the motion is adopted, the program would have to be assessed once more — this time at a bigger meeting of experts, Chu said.