China is expected to pass a regulation on animal experiments before the end of the year, reported China Daily.
It will improve the treatment and welfare of the 12 million animals currently living in Chinese laboratories, said Yue Bingfei, deputy director of the experimental animal division of the National Institutes for Food and Drug Control.
“An independent section on laboratory-animal welfare and ethics will be added to beef up the regulation,” Bingfei told China Daily.
According to Bingfei, “no facilities have been punished for animal welfare and ethics violations”. But, “the new regulation will clearly define procedures to ensure good animal welfare and ethics and strengthen supervision and regulation over the issue.”
The new law aims to minimize the number of animals used and decrease the levels of pains caused during and after tests.
“In vitro or non-animal methods are first considered. If necessary, use as few animals as possible in an experiment, and use methods that minimize pain or stress,” Bingfei said.
Chinese experiments have been criticized by the international scientific community many times in the past for having low animal welfare standards and ethics. According to Bingfei, that “undermined Chinese scientists’ international academic exchanges.”
Bingfei also explained that because of increasing animal welfare laws in the EU and pressure from animal rights activists in the EU and the US, a growing number of foreign companies have been outsourcing their animal research to China.
And “China would never become a haven for inappropriate animal experiments in the name of science.”