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Animal testing lab looks to construct new Turlock facility
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A Turlock-based veterinary research service that works with the animal health industry to develop veterinary drugs is hoping to move to a new location in town as soon as the end of this year. 


Young Veterinary Research Services, which is currently housed on East Avenue, has submitted a project proposal to the City of Turlock Planning Division to construct an improved facility in Turlock's industrial park on the Westside of town. 


 “Our lease is coming up and we have the opportunity to upgrade the facility to exceed the current standards that we have,” said David Young. “We will continue to provide support to the animal health industry, with our primary focus on providing independent data to federal regulatory agencies to help them make decisions as to whether or not to approve a new animal drug.”


The proposal includes the construction of a 21,775 square foot research facility at 3000 Spengler Way. Upon completion, the site will include 4,191 square feet of office area and 17,584 square feet of animal handling and storage. On-site improvements including parking, paving and landscaping will be installed as part of the project. The facility will operate with a maximum of 16 employees from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.


“We are subject to regulations by the USDA [United States Department of Agriculture], but this is going to give us an opportunity to meet even higher standards of animal care,” said Young.


The facility will house all animals indoors in an insulated and conditioned environment to minimize and contain odors and noise. Approximately 250 dogs will be housed in 4 feet by 8 feet runs and 110 cats will be housed in steel cages.


“We are working towards improving animal health and the research we do is for the welfare and benefit of animals,” said Young. “We are not testing things that do anything but benefit everyone’s pets. Only through the type of research we do will we find more effective and safer animal medicines.”


YVRS was established in 1982 after veterinarian Robert Young “saw the need for an independent laboratory to provide vital input in the development of new animal drugs.” The now-second-generation owned family business is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Veterinary Parasitology, California Biomedical Research Association, Foundation for Biomedical Research, and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Young also said that he intends to get his business certified through the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care.


Additionally, YVRS is subject to unscheduled and routine inspections by its regulatory agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which are both responsible for approving the studies submitted by the facility, as well as the United States Department of Agriculture.


The latter visited the facility three times last year and found nothing wrong. The latest report from July revealed that the East Avenue facility housed 138 adult cats and 274 adult dogs. The results of these inspections and reports are available online through the Freedom of Information Act.


Despite the fact that Young said a number of individuals have misinterpreted what his business does or made up erroneous information about the facility, he said that he and his wife remain proud of the work they do to improve animal health.  


“My wife and I don’t believe in euthanizing animals when the study is over,” said Young. “We feel that we would rather go through the expense of maintaining animals so we can reduce the number of animals used in research. Probably two-thirds of our animal colony is not actually in a study, they are simply going through a wash-out period while we wait for them to be ready for the next project.


“We have a lot of experience with animals and animals in research. When we got the opportunity to manage our own facility, we felt that it was important to minimize the amount of animals that need to be put down wherever possible,” continued Young.


If all goes according to plan, Young said that the he hopes to open the new facility by the end of 2016.