Malaysia okays controversial British animal testing lab

Malaysia will not shut down a controversial British-funded animal testing lab after investigations showed that the animals were not exposed to torture, a senior official said on Thursday.

Updated: Jun 24, 2010, 23:49 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia will not shut down a
controversial British-funded animal testing lab after
investigations showed that the animals were not exposed to
torture, a senior official said on Thursday.

The veterinary services department launched a probe this
month after animal rights campaigners accused the Progenix
Research lab based in the northern state of Penang of cruelty
to animals.
The lab, which is run by the Britain-based Alpha
Biologics, uses monkeys, dogs, rodents and rabbits for
toxicology testing.

Veterinary services department director Abdul Aziz
Jamaluddin said there was no evidence that Progenix abused
animals and that it would not order the facility to be closed.

"The problem is not that they have been using animals --
they can use animals but within the limit of standards that we
have drawn up," he told reporters.

"They complied (with the standards) all the while, so we
should not worry."

Abdul Aziz said the animals were not being put through
any suffering, adding that a special team has been set up to
monitor the facility.
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection had
charged that "animals are quite literally poisoned to death"
at the lab, in a country that has no laws governing their
welfare.

Progenix said on its official website that it was
committed to the "ethical use of animals in research only when
there is no suitable non-animal alternative."

A local Malaysian leader last month drew criticism from
campaigners for saying that God had created animals to be used
by man, amid controversy over an Indian drug company`s plans
to build an animal testing facility in the country.

Malaysia is bidding to become a major biotech hub in
Southeast Asia.

PTI