Daily Archives: December 1, 2006

To Circumvent Animal Welfare Laws, Pharmaceutical Companies will Begin Outsourcing Animal Testing to China where Animal Care Laws are Non-Existent

Once again, the cruelty of profit-driven businesses know no bounds. Convenience is cheap, and non-human lives… worthless.

Monday, November 27, 2006

To Circumvent Animal Welfare Laws, Pharmaceutical Companies will Begin Outsourcing Animal Testing to China where Animal Care Laws are Non-Existent

Now for our disturbing story of the day (maybe week).

I think the title and subject speak on their own, but to point out here the obvious which wasn’t stated: If pharmaceutical companies truly cared about animal welfare as they say, then why this horrible move? Why not just increase welfare standards? Why outsource animal testing to the world’s cruelest country – China? Why? Well, it’s obvious now – drug companies don’t care about animal welfare. It’s that simple.

Here’s some quotes from the article below that provide a summary of the main points:

“In terms of animal supply, China is a good place to be, as it is the world’s largest supplier of lab monkeys and canines — mostly beagles.”

“But there is no avoiding the reality of the work done here: The beagles in Bridge’s cages are infected with diseases, operated on, and fed substances that can severely affect their health. Eventually, their organs are removed and examined.”

“But it’s unclear how well China’s animal testing industry will be regulated. Beijing didn’t enact any animal welfare regulations until 2004, and they are ineffective and inconsistently implemented, said Lu, whose organization is the largest animal welfare group in China. The track record of Chinese companies that conduct animal testing is not well documented, mostly because neither the government nor the industry has studied it.”

“We are very aware and very concerned about this recent and disturbing trend of companies to contract with laboratories in countries in which animal welfare oversight is poor and public awareness is low,” said Jason Baker, Asia-Pacific director for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “There is no doubt this is intended to circumvent American animal welfare laws, as minimal and unenforced as those may be.”

Article:

Outsourcing animal testing

US firm setting up drug-trial facilities in China, where scientists are plentiful but activists aren’t

http://www.boston.com/business/healthcare/articles/2006/11/25/
outsourcing_animal_testing/?page=2

By Jehangir S. Pocha, Globe Correspondent | November 25, 2006

BEIJING — Glenn Rice wants to turn China’s dogs into global economic assets.
Article Tools

Because animal rights groups make it difficult for drug companies to build or expand animal-testing laboratories in the United States, Europe, and India, Rice, chief executive of Bridge Pharmaceuticals Inc., is outsourcing the work to China, where scientists are cheap and plentiful and animal-rights activists are muffled by an authoritarian state.

“This is a country with a large number of canines and primates, and if we establish pre-clinical testing facilities here, we can change the dynamics of the industry,” said Rice, who in 2004 created his San Francisco-based company out of the life sciences department at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, Calif. “Animal testing also does not have the political issues it has in the US or Europe or even India, where there are religious issues as well,” he said. “So now big pharma is looking to move to China in a big way.”

Beijing is fast becoming China’s leading biotechnology center, and Bridge, located in the lush sprawl of the city’s Zhongguancun Life Science Park, was given “big benefits and a 5-year tax holiday” for choosing the capital as its home, Rice said.

“But beyond that, it’s the whole menu of advantages that attracted us,” said Rice, who now alternates weekly between Beijing and San Francisco. “In terms of animal supply, China is a good place to be, as it is the world’s largest supplier of lab monkeys and canines — mostly beagles.”

Large drug companies such as Novartis, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Roche have disclosed plans to set up research and development centers in China. But the real growth is likely to come from mid-sized companies that outsource their animal testing or pre-clinical trials to companies such as Bridge, which can offer them prices that are about half of those charged by US-based competitors. By 2008, that could double the size of the pre-clinical outsourcing industry, which was worth $2 billion last year, Rice said.

Outsourcing research to China will also benefit people suffering from so-called orphan diseases, illnesses that afflict small numbers of people.

Given the steep cost of drug development and the steeper rates of failure, “unless there is a market of about $500 million a year for a drug, big pharma companies will not invest in it,” Rice said. With China’s lower costs, he said, “it becomes feasible to develop drugs for orphan diseases.”

Despite such benefits, the subject of animal testing is a difficult one. US regulations generally require that all drugs be tested on at least two species, usually rats and then dogs or monkeys, before being submitted for approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Bridge’s Beijing facilities have been designed to meet US standards on animal care, and it expects to be certified as such by the end of the year. Air and water quality are carefully monitored, and the cages are regularly cleaned.

But there is no avoiding the reality of the work done here: The beagles in Bridge’s cages are infected with diseases, operated on, and fed substances that can severely affect their health. Eventually, their organs are removed and examined.

“Unfortunately, there is no substitute to testing on live animals,” said Rice. “If we stopped animal testing, new drug development would stop short in its tracks.”

While animal rights are discussed in China, advocates are not openly militant — the government wouldn’t allow it.

“We believe in engagement rather than protest,” said Lu Di, 75, director of the Chinese Association for the Protection of Small Animals in Beijing. “Animal testing is inevitable, and we want to focus on advocating companies and universities use the best standards and processes they can to minimize any pain caused to the animals,” she said.

But it’s unclear how well China’s animal testing industry will be regulated. Beijing didn’t enact any animal welfare regulations until 2004, and they are ineffective and inconsistently implemented, said Lu, whose organization is the largest animal welfare group in China. The track record of Chinese companies that conduct animal testing is not well documented, mostly because neither the government nor the industry has studied it.

“We are very aware and very concerned about this recent and disturbing trend of companies to contract with laboratories in countries in which animal welfare oversight is poor and public awareness is low,” said Jason Baker, Asia-Pacific director for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “There is no doubt this is intended to circumvent American animal welfare laws, as minimal and unenforced as those may be.”

Baker said PETA attempts to “hold companies accountable for the actions of their contractors” and publicizes any abuse of animals by firms operating overseas. The group has an office in Hong Kong and hopes to one day open an office in mainland China.

Rice said that when Bridge considered doing business in China, it realized it could not rely on local companies because they lacked rigid standards and quality control.

“We’ve built our own organization so we can control every aspect of it, and we spend a lot on hiring the best people and training them,” he said.

For example, Bridge’s Beijing operations are headed by Ada Kung, a Taiwanese national who studied and worked in the United States. Without Kung and a core team of US-educated and experienced managers, Bridge would not be able to maintain international standards on quality and intellectual property rights protection, Rice said. But the company’s Chinese staff is learning fast, he said.

“Today, it may seem like it’s too early to do much more than we are doing in China,” he said. “But tomorrow, or the day after, it’ll be a different story.”

ON a related note, please do try to exercise your rights as a consumer in support of ethics and cruelty-free products. Let your money talk.

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South Korea to kill cats and dogs

I was wondering what’s in the air, but there’s a stink in it too. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

South Korea to kill cats and dogs

Sigh. Not again.

When they started killing dogs and cats in China during SARS, I was quite convinced that in Singapore, we would behave in a more rational manner and would not do something like that. Obviously I was wrong. When there is panic and hysteria, people just tend to over-react. Of course it is important to take the right measures to protect health – and no one argues with that. However, when over-reaction and hysteria take over, it’s not just worrying for the animals – but for people too. It brings out the absolute worst in people.

South Korea to kill animals

South Korea to kill animals in bird flu scare

Note that all the medical experts say they see no reason to kill the dogs and cats. Let’s hope that bird flu doesn’t spread and this is quickly contained. And let’s hope we all keep our heads if the worst happens and it does spread.

(Source: Dawn’s blog)

What does it serve, except assuage some ruffled brass? SARS killed more cats than humans in Singapore because of human fear. It also killed dogs, civet cats, and tons of other animals in China, where it originated. I saw footage of civet cats being electrocuted and drowned in corrosive/toxic chemical baths. There was even a ban on exotic meat. And yet, barely a year later, civet cats were the rage in the Guangdong exotic meat markets, breeding ground of SARS if the theory that people who ate civet cats got it and gave it a round-the-world free trip.

I hope, like Dawn said in the comments section, that Singapore, vaulted ‘developed’ economy of South-East Asia, will not regress into barbarism and kill animals just because of a suspected and never proven possibility, again.

Something in the air?

I don’t know what’s in the air today, but a few amazing things happened/are slated to happen:

  1. btmao the MIA minion has finally made her maiden post on TEC… check out the comments for this.
  2. We’ve two potential visitors lined up tomorrow – 1 for Cassie/Timmi and the other open to the cattery’s denizens
  3. A second enquiry for Cassie happened today. It’s a phenomenon because before we updated her adoption notice with her pic/vid link, there’s been ZILCH interest.
  4. … I am completely frazzled by work – which has been draining mentally due to my unhappiness with it – and still managed to come home and cook a pasta dinner for btmoa and meself. (btw, i am looking to bail on it – anyone looking to hire?)
  5. For the second straight day, our blog hits has broken the-day-with-the-most-hits record, no thanks to Snowball, whose pic/vid link is the top draw.
  6. I’m heartened to see that most people do not want cats killed. This is despite the very real existence of Singaporeans who do WANT TO SEE CATS dead. The chronology of events for this insight (all entries on/originated on Dawn’s blog):
  7. There are people who are willing to look beyond beauty… maybe Timmi, Booties, Frankie, and even Angel will get a shot at getting a home.

Adoption live-link track (Nov 06)

Tracking of hits/referrals & enquiries for homeseekers through pics/vid blog entries linked to the CWS Public Adoption Bulletin Board

Date
(NOV)
Overall
Referrals
(Hits)
Izzy* Timmi* Booties* Cassie* Frankie* Snowball*
Hits Action Hits Action Hits Action Hits Action Hits Action Hits Action
1 0
2 0
3 0
4 0
5 0
6 0
7 0
8 0
9 0 1
10 0 1
11 0
12 0
13 0 1
14 0 3
15 @ 0
16 4 3   1
17 53 36 2 27
18 38 34 12
19 44 25 25
20 50 12 18 26
21 62 12 11 54
22 56 13 15 32 -(1)
23 46 13 19 22
24 22 13 15
25 36 9 1# 31 1#
26 26 12 19 6
27 46 3 14 41 2
28 52 3 6 63
29 58 5 6 57
30 45 5 8 47

LEGEND and NOTES
For “Action”, numbers in brackets denote an action not resulting from the CWS adoption board.

@ CWS website resurrected
* Timmi’s adoption notice update 16 Nov. Izzy adopted 18 Nov, notice removed 24 Nov. Cassie adoption notice updated 20 Nov. Snowball’s adoption notice online on 27 Nov. Booties and Frankie‘s adoption notices not yet updated.

# Same potential adopter

(Oct track)