GlaxoSmithKline joins British firms jobbing safety testing overseas

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2004:

LONDON–“The drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline
is moving a third of its clinical trials offshore
to countries such as India and Poland to cut
costs,” Heather Tomlinson of The Guardian
revealed on November 1.
Her report confirmed that break-ins,
arsons, home invasions, and similar tactics by
militant antivivisectionists are combining with
market factors to drive experiments on both human
and animal subjects beyond the reach of British
regulation, believed to be among the strongest
in the world on behalf of either humans or
nonhumans used by science.
“If ending cruelty is really the goal,
not merely achieving a hollow symbolic ‘victory’
by removing torture out of sight and out of mind,
forcing vivisection abroad is moving in the wrong
direction,” ANIMAL PEOPLE editor Merritt Clifton
warned the British activist community in a
mid-2002 guest column for the newsletter of the
Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals.

Clifton cited previous examples of
research being contracted out from Britain and
the U.S. to labs in South Africa, Israel,
Ghana, and Pakistan, with China and Brazil also
competing for contracts. None of those examples,
however, involved projects of even a fraction
the size of Glaxo pharmacutical product safety
“Achieving any real reduction in the
misuse of animals by labs requires keeping the
experimental procedures as much in the open and
under regulatory oversight as possible,” Clifton
wrote, “which can only be done in an educated
and democratic society, offering freedom to
question and the right to protest.”
The future of efforts to abolish animal
testing will evolve out of the struggle already
underway to reinforce oversight and regulation of
labs in the less affluent parts of the world,
before research industry financial clout
dismantles whatever animal welfare considerations
now exist.


“A growing medical research industry in
the far east and eastern Europe is luring Glaxo,”
Tomlinson explained. “In India, the cost of
conducting clinical trials [on humans] can be as
little as a tenth of the costs in the west, a
pharmaceutical industry source said.”
“There is no alternative to really
streamlining research and development
departments,” Glaxo chief executive Jean-Pierre
Garnier told Tomlinson. “We are trying to move
30% of our clinical trials to low-cost
countries,” within two years.
Noted Tomlinson, “Glaxo already conducts
trials in Poland and will expand its activities
there. It is looking at working in South
America. It has started collaborating with
Ranbaxy, an Indian company making generic
versions of drugs, in working on certain
early-stage drug development and research. It
has also opened a research facility in Singapore.
As the industry moves its clinical trials
offshore, it is likely to look at moving its
research too, not only for reasons of cost.
Much of this work is done on animals, and
militancy within the animal rights movement makes
countries such as Singapore and China attractive
to drugs firms.”

China is competitive

Nature correspondent David Cyranoski
confirmed three days after Tomlinson’s expose
appeared that the exodus of animal research to
China is already underway.
“The Kunming Institute of Zoology in
southwestern China is just one of several primate
research facilities that are attracting Western
researchers to the country,” Cyranoski wrote.
“With 1,400 monkeys, including 300 in isolation,
it held scientists in awe at a recent symposium
on biomedical research using primates as research
“Low costs, fewer regulations, and the
absence of animal rights groups make the move [to
China] an attractive prospect,” Cyranoski
continued. “But some worry that these factors
could cause problems in the future. Activists
say the same ethical concerns that have arisen in
Western primate facilities are also valid in
China, where there are fewer institutional
ethics review boards.”
Kunming Institute director Weizhi Ji told
Cyranoski that ethical standards at his facility
“match those in Europe and the U.S.”
Most of China has no animal welfare
standards, including Kunming. But Beijing, the
national capital, does have a framework in place
for developing laboratory animal welfare
guidelines, adopted in 1996. There are
reportedly about 180 animal research labs in
Liang Ping, vice director of the Beijing
Education, Science, Culture, Health & Sports
Committee, on October 20 submitted an update of
the 1996 regulation to the Beijing legislature.
“The revisions give depth to the
regulation,” said China Daily reporter Li Li.
“The 1996 version only prescribed a love for
animals,” and stated what species can be used.
“That is not enough now. We need more
detailed stipulations on the issue of animal
welfare,” Liang told Li Li.
“At the same time,” Li Li paraphrased,
“researchers should avoid using animals or reduce
the number of animals used in experiments
whenever possible.”
Observed Li Li, “Animal welfare has
become a barrier to joint Sino-foreign projects,
after China’s entry into the World Trade
The Xinhua News Agency on October 25 provided further detail.
“‘Organizations and personnel who use
animals in experiments should guarantee the
welfare of the animals,’ prescribes Article Seven
of the draft,” the agency said.
“This will mean that experimental animals
must be kept in comfortable cages with sufficient
and nutritious food, and should not be exposed
to sources of pollution, said Li Gengping, a
drafter of the new law.”
Explained Liang Ping, “If experimental
animals live in filthy environments, they may
feel uneasy and excrete hormones which will
influence the experimental results, so to
protect animals is actually, in the long run,
to protect human beings.”
The new Beijing lab animal welfare law is
scheduled for passage in December.

Pacific Rim nations

Singapore on November 15, 2004
introduced a licensing requirement for animal
laboratories, to be policed by the Agri-Food &
Veterinary Authority. The licensing law is
reinforced by animal care guidelines drafted by
National Advisory Committee for Laboratory Animal
Research chief Bernard Tan.
South Korea has included provisions
pertaining to laboratory animal welfare in a new
draft humane law.
As of October 5 the law seemed to be
advancing toward passage after amendments were
made to satisfy concerns pertaining to
definitions of companion animals that the Korea
Animal Welfare Society and International Aid for
Korean Animals feared might exempt dogs and cats
from coverage if they are raised to be eaten.
India eases regulation

The Indian federal Ministry of
Environment & Forests in September recommended
new guidelines on animal use in laboratories, to
be offered as amendments to the 1960 Prevention
of Cruelty of Animals Act.
The Hindu and the Deccan Herald praised
aspects of the amendments which might reduce
animal use and animal suffering, if properly
implemented, as reported in the October 2004
edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE.
Times of India commentator Chandrika Mago
was more critical, several days after ANIMAL
PEOPLE went to press.
“Agricultural scientists are clear
winners,” wrote Mago. “It is estimated that
over 50% of their experiments may no longer need
the prior permission of the Committee for the
Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments
on Animals, once the new guidelines are
operationalŠThe new guidelines will effectively
cut nutritional trials from the ambit of the
CPCSEAŠPesticide or insecticide tests will still
need to be cleared.”
Anticipating easier approval of experiments of
all kinds, the Indian Council of Medical
Research was already at work developing a 23-acre
primate breeding center at Sasunavghar, Vasai,
in cooperation with the US. National Institutes
of Health.

Meanwhile in U.K.

Back in Britain, in an incident
reminiscent of the grave robbing often practiced
by early biomedical researchers to get specimens,
antivivisectionists on the night of October 5-6
dug up the grave of Gladys Hammond, 82, and
took most of her bones. Hammond, who died in
1997, was mother-in-law of Chris Hall, who with
his brothers John and David owns Darley Oaks
Farm, a major supplier of guinea pigs to the
Huntingdon Life Sciences laboratory in
The grave robbery was anonymously claimed
in a web posting by supporters of the protest
group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. Police
briefly detained but did not charge veteran
activist John Curtin.
Curtin is a reputed associate of members
of the Hunt Retribution Squad who dug up the
grave of the Duke of Beaufort in 1986.
In 1977 three activists served nine
months in jail for vandalizing the grave of 19th
century hunt master John Peel.
Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency
employee Barry Dickinson, 34, on October 25
drew five months in jail for giving the addresses
of at least 13 people whose cars were seen at
Darley Oaks Farm to SHAC members. Five people
testified that their cars and homes were
subsequently vandalized. One man was hanged in
Earlier, Huntingdon Life Sciences sued
midwife Lynn Sawyer for £205,551 in damages
allegedly done by SHAC, as the only one of 12
purported SHAC core members with the means to
pay. Huntingdon is seeking to seize her home,
used as the SHAC mailing address and meeting
In a parallel case, the research firm
Chiron Inc., of Emeryville, California, on
September 13 won a preliminary injunction against
SHAC, after protesters broke windows at the home
of Chiron general counsel William Green in
August. The pesticide maker Valent USA, of
Walnut Creek, California then applied for a
permanent injunction against many of the same
people. Because Huntingdon does animal testing
for Valent USA, 30 to 60 SHAC sympathizers
staged a series of 3 a.m. demonstrations during
the summer outside the homes of Valent employees.
Oxford University on November 9 won an
extended injunction against protesters who
intimidate or harass staff and construction
workers who may soon resume work on a new animal
research lab. The job was suspended on June 13
when the contractor withdrew.
With the injunction application pending,
Oxford prevailed on to remove a web
page posted by “Badgers Unknown Anarchist
Ventures,” a parody of the acryonm of the
British Union Against Vivisection, which listed
the home addresses of Oxford senior staff.

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