TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– It was a controversial morning at the Vigo County annex on Tuesday, as community members spoke out against potential rezoning in the southern part of the county, near Pimento.
LFM Quality Laboratories– a research company that does work testing on cats and dogs– is looking to relocate and expand on 40 acres of land off of U.S. 41, near Pimento. The land would be rezoned into an M-1 zone, or light manufacturing.
Around a dozen community members were on hand, many to express ethical concerns over the expansion of the testing facility. Cara Bryant, the founder of the Parke County Animal Welfare services, said she didn’t know about the company until last month, and she made it a priority to be at the meeting Tuesday.
“I started reading more into it, like there’s an animal testing lab in Terre Haute? I didn’t even know about it,” she said. “I just started researching, finding, digging, it just kind of all developed into what we’re doing here today.”
She reached out to Samanta Morton, the Indiana State director for the Humane Society of the United States. Morton testified opposing the rezoning, and said she was satisfied with the turnout.
“I think it really shows that Vigo County residents care about animals and they don’t want to see this expanded in their community,” she said.
Lindy Miller, the president of the company, addressed the audience at the meeting, responding to concerns from residents. He said the company has made concerted efforts over the last few years to start adoption programs, and assist the animals.
“We would like, and have, and are investing heavily, in retirement programs for these animals, he said. “We would like to increase the amount of socialization these animals get before retirement. So that more of those animals can be adopted safely and effectively.”
He also said the company is overseen by a number of federal agencies.
“Food and Drug Administration, which is FDA. The Center for Veterinary Biologics that we’ve submitted to and we are regulated by, so from that standpoint, we are inspected routinely by the [United States Department of Agriculture],” he said.
The commissioners– after lengthy discussions about the business, possible alternative locations or pathways forward– decided to table the vote until Dec. 6th. It was the second time the vote was tabled, after Miller’s lawyer requested it be tabled in October.
Bryant said she expects an even larger turnout then.
“To be honest, I’m not totally disappointed it was tabled again,” she said. “That gives us even more time to get more information together and come back even stronger on December 6th.”