Bernalillo County commissioners have decided to exempt a large research laboratory from the county's animal protection laws. The commission voted to approve the amended animal welfare ordinance at Tuesday meeting.
Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute will be exempt from enforcement of the new law as long as the lab follows approved research protocols.
The private lab specializes in finding causes and cures for respiratory diseases that range from asthma to lung cancer. It employs nearly 1,200 scientists, technicians and support staff and has an annual budget of $132 million.
The proposal to exempt the lab initially spurred a flood of emails from animal rights supporters in California, Washington and Connecticut and as far away as Australia.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.