Charles Parkinson, The Phnom Penh Pos
Fri, 30 October 2015
A biomedical company heavily involved in animal testing has replaced EARS Asia as the sponsor for two elephants at a Kampot zoo due to be sent to Japan as part of a controversial animal swap.
Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories (SNBL) yesterday confirmed it is now sponsoring the elephants at Teuk Chhou Zoo in Kampot province, after elephant conservation NGO EARS Asia was ejected last month in the wake of its vocal opposition to the proposed exchange.
“We have been sponsoring many of the animals there for quite some time now,” said SNBL Cambodia president Steven Meyer in an email. “We only do it for the animals.”
Their involvement was called a “very concerning partnership” by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has campaigned against SNBL in the United States over reports of animal cruelty at their laboratories.
“If SNBL was truly interested in animal welfare, they’d funnel their money into preserving animals’ habitats in the wild,” said PETA Asia Pacific special projects coordinator Nirali Shah.
According to a recent visitor to the zoo who preferred not to be named, the animals remain in the same deplorable conditions witnessed in August, and no staff members were seen around the facility over a three-hour period this week.
“Some [animals’ drinking] water was so black, it just looked like oil,” the visitor said.