Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI response to For Life on Earth statement

Posted: 1 April 2019

In response to the misleading and harmful statement made by For Life on Earth on 31 March 2019, we would like to make clear to those unaware of our work that, as we have done since founded in 1990, Animal Defenders International (ADI) advocates for advanced scientific methods to replace the use of animals in research. This work includes the production of evidence (including undercover investigations) and reports on the scientific, legal and economic issues, and recommendation of solutions. ADI opposes all animal experiments. We are dismayed that For Life On Earth would publicly attack the Declaration having not realised where we are citing EU policy that the use of animals should be replaced “as soon as scientifically possible” – that is EU and national government policy, not ADI policy.

Through our humane research department, the Lord Dowding Fund (LDF), ADI funds non-animal scientific and medical research to replace the use of animals, collaborating with scientists to produce evidence of the benefits of human relevant science.

It is well known in the scientific community that, due to species differences, animals respond differently to substances such as drugs and tests, and are therefore an unreliable way to predict effects in humans. In addition, human diseases in lab animals are not naturally occurring – artificially created, they are different from the human condition they attempt to mimic. For these reasons, we believe it is currently scientifically possible to replace or abandon animal research.

Latest figures, however, show 3.7 million animals are used in scientific procedures in Britain, in the EU nearly 11.5 million animals, and worldwide an estimated 115+ million animals.

Given the current inertia and lack of funding for moving to advanced scientific techniques to replace the use of animals, ADI is working to gain wider support to shift away from animal models in research and testing, and towards the adoption of methods of research that are better for animals and people.

The new Declaration for Advanced Science seeks to bring together academics, scientists, institutions, companies and animal protection groups, all united in calling for the use of advanced human-relevant methods to replace the use of animals.

The wording of the Declaration incorporates the text of current legislation. We are trying to move the current regulations (on animal use) forward, to non-animal models. It does not make any mention of the NC3Rs, because our focus is on the replacement of animals with advanced methods, not NC3R policies. It says:

Recognising the need for a move away from animal models towards more human-relevant research methods, with a goal, as described in Recital 10 of EU Directive 2010/63/EU, and policy for “full replacement of procedures on live animals for scientific and educational purposes as soon as scientifically possible”, we pledge to support research and legislative measures which accelerate the realisation of this goal, worldwide.

The “scientifically possible” concession is government policy, not ADI. ADI does not support the refinement or reduction of animal use, or the disingenuous use of ‘replacement’ where the use of one species is simply replaced with another.

As can be seen from the Declaration, the words “as soon as scientifically possible” are not those of ADI, but from the European Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, which outlines in its Recitals “the final goal of full replacement".

We are making use of this concession, which is a clear commitment, already set out in European and UK policy. It was the result of a long and hard-fought campaign. The new Declaration seeks to tap into this commitment to help get wider support for the replacement of animals in research with advanced, scientific methods.

The current legislation covering animal experiments has few drivers to actually bring about the end of any animal experiments, and it is vital that these are used to push for the elimination of experiments. Through the Directive, the European Commission, European Parliament, and Council of Ministers have stated that experiments should be replaced “as soon as scientifically possible” and this is reflected in national law. We believe replacing animals in experiments is scientifically possible and it should start happening now.

As championed for many years, alternative methods are ALREADY available to replace the use of animals, but implementation and consequently eliminating animal use has been inadequate. This Declaration presses regulators and politicians to do what they have promised and is just one facet of our campaign to end animal experiments.

It is a disservice to animals to fail to seize any opportunity to dismantle animal experiments right now using any mechanisms that are in place or to broaden the body of people calling for such change.

We would be happy to meet with For Life on Earth and patron Peter Egan to discuss and address in more detail the incorrect statements that have been made and which we hope will not prove harmful to our ongoing efforts to help animals in laboratories and save lives.

© Animal Defenders International 2020