A Malaysian minister defended an Indian company's plans to build an animal testing medicine lab in his state, saying today that God created monkeys and rats for experiments to benefit humans.
The plans by India's Vivo BioTech Ltd. to set up a biotechnology center in southern Malacca state has come under fire by activists because it will conduct tests on dogs and primates to make medicines. The activists say Malaysia has no regulations on animal research, which could lead to test subjects being abused.
But Malacca Chief Minister Mohamad Ali Rustam said the lab had received state approval, and animal testing was necessary to make drugs. The project is still in the planning phase.
"God created animals for the benefits of human beings. That's why he created rats and monkeys ... We cannot test on human beings," he told The Associated Press. "This is the way it has to be. God created monkeys, and some have to be tested."
He said Malaysian agencies, such as the wildlife department, could monitor that the animals were not abused and proper procedures followed. He said eating animals could also be seen as cruel, and yet it was widely accepted.
Vivo inked a 450 million ringgit (USD 141 million) joint-venture deal in January to build the biotechnology center, including laboratories where trial medicines will be tested on animals. Its partners are state government-owned Melaka Biotech Holdings and local firm Vanguard Creative Technologies.