Photographer:Fotograaf: Drawing of the new BMC
MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has been given the green light for the new animal-testing centre. No objections have been lodged against the permit application, said the spokesperson for the Maastricht city council in response to questions. Apart from that, there is a letter from Animal Rights to the Executive Board with the request to stop animal testing and not to start building.
The so-called Biomedical Centre (BMC) in Randwyck will be equipped with laboratories and cages, mainly for mice and rats, and can be adapted if fewer animal tests will be needed in the future.
The animal testing facility is expected to open in 2021. Cost: 22 million euro. Now that no objections have been lodged with the city council against the permit application, university will take the next step, says UM-spokesman Gert van Doorn: the tender procedure.
The spokesperson for the Maastricht city council adds, though, that there is an application with the provincial authorities within the framework of the Nature Conservation Act (WnB).
The present animal accommodation is 27 years old. “Simply renovating and installing new equipment is impossible, because of the state of the present building,” answered the UM's communication office just before the summer, replying to questions by the Liberale Partij Maastricht. The fraction expressed its concern and said that they had been “approached by many people, because animal testing is not appreciated”. According to the UM, there are currently “insufficient alternative methods available to ban the use of animal testing. It is expected that this will continue to be the case for the next decade.” Nevertheless, they are looking at alternative research, such as regenerative biology and silicone models.
Last May, there was a demonstration in the city with the slogan ‘Stop BMC’. And Robert Molenaar, founder of Animal Rights, previously stated that he would take legal action against the creation of the new animal testing facility. In 2014, as campaign leader for the Anti-Animal Testing Coalition, he successfully demonstrated against Maastricht's cardiology research with Labradors.
Now Molenaar decided against lodging an appeal against the permit application for the new animal-testing centre. “We would have preferred to get legal proceedings started, but after discussing the matter with our lawyer, this appeared to be not feasible.” Therefore, as an alternative, we wrote a letter to President Martin Paul with the request not to proceed with the new building plans. “We are disappointed. No ambition at all is being shown to replace animal testing. If you look at the capacity of the new building and compare it to the environmental permit from 2007, you can see that it has practically remained the same.” Why do they not have a plan in which the UM strives to reduce animal testing, Molenaar wants to know from the Executive Board. He is still waiting for a reply. “Taking action is the last resort. It is not 2021 yet.”