Tests subject to approval
Thousands of mice, rats, hamsters and rabbits are force-fed, injected with drugs, killed by toxic substances or made to suffer hu man diseases in Hong Kong laboratories.
The animals are used for research on human illnesses and biology. Most of the experiments are conducted at the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which breed animals for their own and other institutions' use.
Animal rights groups fear many animals are being used in unli censed experiments.
Under the Animals (Control of Experiments) Ordinance, re searchers who want to perform experiments on live vertebrate animals must apply for a permit from the Department of Health, de tailing the reasons for the work and whether animals would be anaesthetised.
Although experiments have to be registered with the depart ment, licensing officer Dr Mak Kwok-hang admitted there were shortcomings in monitoring procedures.