Taiwan AR group urges closer supervision of animal testing
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Taipei, Aug. 20 (CNA) Taiwan needs a comprehensive mechanism to supervise
animal experimentation, a local animal rights group said Tuesday, pointing to
the British system as a good example of ethical animal testing.
The Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) told reporters that since
2002, some 10 million animals have lost their lives in Taiwan in the name of
experiments, including 201,431 rabbits, a combined 4,152 dogs and cats, and 639
EAST Executive Director Chu Tseng-hung said the government needs to address five
problems of management for these experiments.
The major issue, he said, is a player-referee problem because there is not
enough independent oversight or inspection into experiment proposals. The
current rules only require a project manager to file an application with a
department of his or her own organization for approval, he said.
Moreover, the process is only a formality because alternative options to using
animals in the tests are not offered, he said.
The other three problems he listed are too few professional veterinarians during
the tests, a lack of outside oversight once an experiment has been approved, and
no supervision of the entities breeding and supplying the animals for tests.
Chen Yu-min, a director at the EAST, also called for a discussion of whether or
not animal tests are necessary.
The Council of Agriculture's Animal Protection Section issued a response to the
recommendations, saying that Taiwan's animal testing supervisory system is based
on the one in the United States and has been in effect since 1999.
Each year, the government conducts audits on 40 of the 220 organizations that
conduct animal research based on those organizations' performance from the past
year, said Section Chief Lin Tsung-yi.
Regulations require testing institutions to have a staff of 3-15 people, though
organizations with fewer employees tend to have more problems, Lin said.
To solve the problem, the Council of Agriculture will give more resources to
National Taiwan University's School of Veterinary Medicine and commission it to
conduct the experiments on behalf of smaller organizations.
By Yang Su-min and Y.L. Kao