Arizona mulls exemption for preclinical animal testing

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Animal rights

Arizona moved a step closer to excluding federally regulated research facilities from animal cruelty laws yesterday after the Senate National Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt Committee voted in favour of such a move.

The exemption, Bill 1159, which now moves on to the US Senate’s rules committee, would exclude animal toxicology assessment and scientific experimentation from Arizona’s “cruelty to animals” statute.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the potential rules change and its supporters have been the subject considerable criticism from animal rights groups.

Contract research organisation (CRO) Covance, which owns and operates a preclinical animal research facility in the State, has been one of the most heavily criticised

Animal Defense League of Arizona president Stephanie Nichols-Young told the Arizona Republic​ newspaper that the CRO has been “lobbying” the bill, although this was not the impression given by company spokesperson Camilla Strongin.

Strongin told the paper that while the Bill will not have a huge impact on either way Covance, it may have a significant impact on Arizona’s pharmaceutical industry and drug research sector.

Her comments are supported by the regulatory approvals and accreditations the firm’s Chandler testing facility already holds.

The site was first cleared by regulators last year​, subsequently gaining Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) accreditation in October​.

Strongin’s argument also fits with comments made by Jeff Morhet, CEO of drug discovery services firm InNexus Biotechnology, which has operations in nearby Scottsdale.

He told the paper that the bioscience industry is already the most regulated in the world and that brining state laws into line with federal rules would lower the cost of and accelerate the drug development process.

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