Activists slam plan for animal testing lab in Malaysia

AFP , KUALA LUMPUR

Wed, Apr 28, 2010 - Page 5

Animal rights groups yesterday slammed a plan by Indian drug company Vivo Bio Tech to build a US$140 million animal testing laboratory for preclinical trials in Malaysia.

Saying the project will cause “immense suffering, misery and death ... inflicted on thousands of animals,” activists warned it could also facilitate the trade in wild-caught macaques within Malaysia.

A coalition of animal rights groups urged Malaysia to stop the construction of the laboratory on humanitarian grounds, because the country has no legislation governing the use of animals in research.

“The coalition opposes the construction of this facility for both ethical reasons and the lack of scientific validity of using animals in testing,” the animal rights groups said in a joint statement.

Christine Chin, a spokeswoman for the group, said the creation of the lab in Malacca State could stain Malaysia’s reputation.

“We are calling on animal groups and others around the world to join us in urging the Government of Malaysia to dissociate itself from a proposal that will not only involve the suffering and death of thousands of animals every year, but also will undoubtedly have a negative and detrimental impact on Malaysia’s image overseas,” she said.

A senior official from the Malacca Indian Chamber of Commerce defended the project, which he said was agreed in New Delhi in January between Vivo Bio Tech and Malaysia’s state-owned Melaka Biotech.

The animal rights coalition includes the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Selangor, Friends of the Earth Malaysia, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments.