Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hell Freezes Over: Fudan University in China Seeks To Set Up City's First Animal Ethics Committee to Address the Welfare of Lab Animals

If this is true, and not just pr, then it’s a good FIRST step. There is still much to do. But, this is a good sign in a county notorious for its horrible treatment of animals.

See this past posting for proof of China’s horrible animal rights record. http://geari.blogspot.com/2006/03/crash-


Fudan's panel to safeguard rights of laboratory animals


Yan Zhen
FUDAN University has set up the city's first animal ethics committee to protect the welfare and rights of laboratory animals, university officials said yesterday.

Researchers and teachers must apply in advance to the animal ethics committee and receive written approval before conducting experiments and research at Fudan's pharmaceutical college.

The decision was effective June 1.

Concerned medical students and animal rights activists have urged the university to build a memorial to the many animals that have suffered and died for science in work on campus.

A similar committee has been set up for animal research in Beijing.

Those involved in experiments and animal care are expected to receive training in appropriate animal treatment that meets an international code of ethics.

Standards include giving animals enough living space, never starving or dehydrating them and killing them painlessly when necessary.

Those who violate the ethics code will be warned and could forfeit research rights, officials said.

"The organization is set up to regulate the ethical treatment of laboratory animals and bring the country's practice in line with international codes," said Cheng Nengneng, the committee director.

Medical research programs, especially pharmaceutical experiments, often involve animals - usually rats, mice, rabbits, dogs and monkeys. Thousands of rats and mice, dozens of dogs and less than 10 monkeys are used in Fudan's research programs each year, officials said.

However, lack of standards for animal treatment has put many researchers into an embarrassing position. Several professors' thesis were rejected by international academic journals as they were not certified by an animal ethics committee.

"The lack of animal protection organizations and regulations even hurt our communication with counterparts in the world," Cheng said.

The suffering of laboratory animals and separate maltreatment scandals have been reported in recent years. An online video showed a high-heeled women in Heilongjiang Province stomping kittens to death in March.

Cruelty to animals has caused indignation and raised awareness in a country where pets are increasingly popular.

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