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Fwd: Animal testing facility eyes MetroWest site/charles river

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  • SinDee
    apesman2727@.... wrote: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=126095 Animal testing facility eyes MetroWest site By Joyce
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1 9:11 AM
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      apesman2727@.... wrote: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=126095
      Animal testing facility eyes MetroWest site
      By Joyce Kelly / Daily News Staff
      Saturday, April 1, 2006 - Updated: 03:14 AM EST

      SHREWSBURY -- Charles River Laboratories, Inc., a multinational company and one of the world's largest breeder of animals for research, is moving to MetroWest, but not without some worry about security.

      CRL is undertaking a $37.5 million overhaul of the old Hewlett-Packard building on South Street where researchers will test drugs on monkeys, rats and other animals.

      CRL officials met with the Finance Committee this week to ask for the board's support for a special tax break. The publicly traded company wants a tax incremental financing, or TIF, agreement so it can obtain an additional
      state tax break. In exchange for a TIF, companies agree to locate or expand
      in a community and provide jobs.



      The company would move 400 workers from its Worcester operation, with an eye toward adding another 300.

      The request for a TIF will go before Town Meeting in May.

      At Thursday's meeting, Finance Committee members wondered about the level of security that will be needed to guard against potential animal rights activists.

      "This is a growth industry -- companies want to contract rather than do it themselves," said Clare M. O'Connor, Finance Committee member.

      Accountants told the board that security would be "high level" similar to its Wilmington plant.

      The company has its share of critics in the animal rights arena.

      Paul Oskar, president of CLR's U.S. preclinical services, said the company began alternatives to animal testing in 1996.

      "Essentially, the tests we perform develop life-saving drugs for people with cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and other (diseases). We help drug development companies, pharmaceuticals, and biotechs bring those products to market quickly and safely. Those tests are required as part of the FDA's
      drug approval process," Oskar said.

      In 2004, CRL was charged with three misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty
      in the deaths of two young chimpanzees in New Mexico. The charges were subsequently dropped based on New Mexico's cruelty statutes' exemption for veterinary medicine practice, according to the New England Anti-Vivisection
      Society Web site and other reports.

      The company no longer tests on chimpanzees. The chimps still in the company' s custody are essentially "retired" and are being cared for at an old Air Force base, Oskar said.

      The company recently began diversifying its research, using non-animal alternatives, such as cell and tissue cultures and tissue engineering,
      according to Dr. John J. Pippin, senior medical and research adviser for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which opposes animal testing.



      "They're getting into alternatives -- not because that was the right thing to do, but the CEO said if they did not diversify business, they'd
      lose market share to other companies," Pippin said.

      Pippin, who gave up his career to fight the use of animals in research and educate people about the alternatives, says non-animal research is a
      humane choice, as well as smarter and more effective.

      The National Cancer Institute is an example of a government agency that has already concluded using human tissues is better than using animals, as researchers use the same tissues that their drug will eventually treat, Pippin said.

      "There is a growing movement of scientists -- not just animal-rights activists -- but good, solid scientists, who feel we're really doing a
      disservice by not moving more quickly away from animal testing. If we allocated some of the money wetesting animals to develop non-animal
      alternatives, we could greatly shorten the amount of time to develop techniques.

      "Drugs found to be safe on animals, like Vioxx (for pain), won't be turned loose on people. It's so hazardous they're doing these tests on
      animals," Pippin said.

      Other critics agree.

      "At a recent shareholder's meeting, CRL President and CEO James Foster promised his shareholders greater profits by moving into alternatives, which he stated can help bring drugs to market faster," said Theodora Capaldo,
      president of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society in Boston.

      The company no longer tests on chimpanzees. The chimps still in the company's custody are essentially "retired" and are being cared for at an old Air Force base, Oskar said.

      The company recently began diversifying its research, using non-animal alternatives, such as cell and tissue cultures and tissue engineering,
      according to Dr. John J. Pippin, senior medical and research adviser for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which opposes animal testing.



      "They're getting into alternatives -- not because that was the right thing to do, but the CEO said if they did not diversify business, they'd
      lose market share to other companies," Pippin said.

      Pippin, who gave up his career to fight the use of animals in research and educate people about the alternatives, says non-animal research is a
      humane choice, as well as smarter and more effective.

      The National Cancer Institute is an example of a government agency that has already concluded using human tissues is better than using animals, as researchers use the same tissues that their drug will eventually treat, Pippin said.

      "There is a growing movement of scientists -- not just animal-rights activists -- but good, solid scientists, who feel we're really doing a
      disservice by not moving more quickly away from animal testing. If we allocated some of the money wetesting animals to develop non-animal
      alternatives, we could greatly shorten the amount of time to develop techniques.

      "Drugs found to be safe on animals, like Vioxx (for pain), won't be turned loose on people. It's so hazardous they're doing these tests on
      animals," Pippin said.

      Other critics agree.

      "At a recent shareholder's meeting, CRL President and CEO James Foster promised his shareholders greater profits by moving into alternatives, which he stated can help bring drugs to market faster," said Theodora Capaldo,
      president of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society in Boston.


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