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Australian Lab Animal Supplier to Close

A main supplier of laboratory animals in Australia is closing due to financial difficulties, the Guardian reports.

Malcolm France, a laboratory animal care and management consultant, tells it that the company, Animal Resource Centre, located in Western Australia, supplies specialized strains of mice and rats to medical research programs at medical school and universities across Australia. But, according to acting CEO Kirsty Moynihan, the company has been in financial straits that has led the Western Australian government to step in multiple times to cover costs, the Guardian adds. It notes that Animal Resource Centre will close in the next 18 months.

This, the Guardian notes, has sparked renewed debate in Australia over the usefulness and ethics of animal testing. Brett Lidbury, a scientific advisor to Humane Research Australia and infectious diseases researcher, tells it that he no longer uses animal models in his research as they "are in no way the best way to study human disease." At the same time, Melissa Little, the chief scientist at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute notes that though mice might not always be the best model, regulators tend to want data from living organisms.