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Brazil's Royal Institute closes Sao Roque lab after activist raid

Three weeks after animal rights activists broke into the Royal Institute's lab in Sao Roque, Brazil, stealing 178 beagles and damaging laboratory equipment, the Institute's Board decided to close the facility, citing the loss of almost all its animals and nearly a decade of research, as well as concerns over the safety of its employees.


Three weeks after animal rights activists broke into the Royal Institute's lab in Sao Roque, Brazil, stealing 178 beagles and damaging laboratory equipment, the Institute's Board decided this week to close the facility, citing the loss of almost all its animals and nearly a decade of research, as well as concerns that the safety of its employees had been compromised.

News accounts report that some 85 employees - including animal care technicians, scientists, and veterinarians - will be laid off, and that the fate of the remaining research animals still under care of the Institute remains to be determined. Police have opened two inquiries: one on the theft of the animals and damage to the Institute by the activists, the other on activists' claims that the animals had been mistreated.

According to the Institute, any future research must be done outside of Brazil until another laboratory is accredited by the National Council for the Control of Animal Experimentation (CONCEA).

The Institute reiterated its statement that all its research had met the principles of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and the standards of care set by CONCEA. 

The facility in Sao Roque focused on preclinical testing for new medicines for cancer, diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy and other diseases.

The Institute statement acknowledged the right of citizens to express their opinions in civil debate, adding "You cannot condone, however, the attitudes of violence that surrounded the episode involving the Royal Institute. An organized and civilized society can not accept that scientific research is constrained by activist groups that prefer the use of force and violence to the detriment of the institutional and democratic way to wage debates."

It added "The environment of insecurity generated - and will continue to generate - losses to Brazilian science, in that it does not provide scientists with an institutional environment suitable for the development of research whose goal, ultimately, is to save lives, The consequence of this scenario is hostility that discourages the acquisition and retention of the best scientific minds in our country."

The quotes above were translated from the original Portuguese. The full Royal Institute statement, along with a news article about the shut down may be found here and may be translated into English via an online translator. 

This information was reproduced from a piece by Americans for Medical Progress with their kind permission.