No plans to ditch rabies experimentation on animals: Council of Agriculture
By Joy Lee,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday denied reports that it has scrapped plans to carry out rabies experiment on live animals, including dogs.
September 4, 2013, 2:20 am TWN
According to local media, the deputy director-general of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, Chao Pan Hua (趙磐華), said that international experts consider it more important to investigate how many areas contain rabies-infected ferret-badgers, so the experiments will be halted.
COA Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) said that there will be minor adjustments to the experiments, but that they will go ahead.
“The COA might change the order of which type of animals will be involved in the rabies testing,” Chen said, “but the experiments will definitely be carried out.”
Chao also denied that the experiments have been scrapped.
“I did not say that the COA will cancel the rabies experiments on dogs, and it is probably my explanation that caused a misunderstanding,” Chao said.
The COA announced on Aug. 14 that 14 healthy beagle puppies had been chosen to be bitten by rabies-infected ferret-badgers in order to determine if the virus strain discovered in Taiwan can be transmitted to dogs. The plans have triggered protests from animal activists and some experts.
Chen later confirmed that the COA had scheduled to conduct rabies experiments on mice, ferret-badgers and dogs, but that a committee of experts would first review the plan.
The Animal Health Research Institute (AHRI) announced on Aug. 26 that experts who do not work for the government will be invited to join the committee and decide whether the planned rabies experiments should go ahead.
According to the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, the process of inviting nongovernment experts to join the committee has been initiated.
The Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals issued a statement on Aug. 28 to ask the government to replace the experiments plan with a TNVR (trap, neuter, vaccinate, release) policy to better prevent rabies from spreading from ferret-badgers and house shrews to other animals.