Friday, May 14, 2010

Animal Welfare: Animal protection groups accuse European ministers of misleading public over animal experiments law

The ECEAE (European Coalition to End Animal Experiments), a coalition of animal protection groups across the EU, is accusing European ministers of seriously misleading the public over a new law about animal experiments. The current law, Directive 86/609, is being revised.

The Council of Ministers has made several inaccurate claims:

- Animal experiments will have to be replaced wherever possible, with
numbers and suffering reduced to a minimum. In fact, this is nothing
new - it is already the law. Worse, the new law would allow animals to
be used even where there is an adequate replacement if the replacement
is not listed in European legislation. Based on EU statistics, this
would account for around 78% of all experiments (including for basic

- Use of primates will be subject to tight restrictions. This is untrue.
Although there are restrictions on the use of great apes, researchers
will be able to use other primates even for minor human ailments, and
in basic research without any special protection at all.

- Only the offspring of primates bred in captivity or sourced from
self-sustaining colonies can be used. This is untrue; merely a long-
term aspiration, contingent on researchers' supply needs.

- Claims that the new directive is a step towards the ultimate goal of
achieving the full replacement of experiments on animals when
scientifically possible are disingenuous. The Council position contains
no mechanisms for achieving this goal. Ministers have rejected the use
of targets and frequent reviews to reflect public opinion and evolving

Despite all the rhetoric, the truth is that animals will continue to be experimented on, in large numbers, for reasons which have nothing to do with finding cures for diseases - such as the "safety" testing of non-essential products and curiosity-driven research.

ECEAE Chief Executive, Michelle Thew: "The rhetoric just does not match the reality. There is a huge gap between the impression given by the EC of what will happen and the reality for the millions of animals who will continue to suffer and die in European laboratories. We are extremely disappointed that an opportunity to improve animal welfare and place greater restrictions on animal experimentation has so far been lost. The battle will now go back to the European Parliament."

Source ECEAE (European Coalition to End Animal Experiments)

See also Sydney Irresistible and Mike Hitchen Unleashed
Putting principles before profits