The Humane Commission failed Wednesday night to pass a resolution expressing support for a prohibition against animal testing in the new West Berkeley Plan. Chair Anne Wagley (Arreguin, Dist. 4), who has also been a temporary appointee to the Planning Commission, explained that the rewrite of the West Berkeley Plan now in its last stages is designed to encourage large-scale research and development projects with as few restrictions as possible. She reported that she had introduced the idea of a ban on animal testing and received broad support from other planning commissioners. Wagley suggested that an endorsement of a ban by the Humane Commission would be compelling in the coming weeks as the Planning Commission debates their final recommendations.
Commissioner Jill Posener made a motion to express the Humane Commission's support for the ban. Commissioner Jane Townley (Anderson, Dist. 3) objected that banning animal testing would eliminate testing of new surgical procedures. Commissioner Alan Shriro (Capitelli, Dist. 5) (a veterinarian) agreed, but opined that it was a small price to pay to make a clear statement. Commissioner Betty Olds (Bates, Mayor) explained that because she considered animal testing so repugnant, she couldn't support a ban unless it encompassed the entire city. Commissioner Betsy Raymond (Moore, Dist. 2) said that wasn't a relevant consideration because laboratories weren't permitted anywhere in the city except in West Berkeley, but Posener changed her motion to specifically prohibit the use in all zoning districts. Commissioner Olds explained that she needed time to consider the matter, and the motion failed, 4 ayes: Wagley, Posener, Shriro, and Raymond; 4 abstentions: Townley, Olds, Anna Avellar (Wozniak, Dist. 8), and Henk Boverhuis (Wengraf, Dist. 6). Commissioner Dianne Sequoia (Maio, Dist. 1) was absent.
A suggestion by Chair Wagley that the Commission instead adopt a resolution supporting a partial ban with strict city oversight of any approved animal testing operations was never taken up by the Commission.
The Planning Commission will hold a workshop on the West Berkeley Plan changes Wednesday, April 28 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center.