Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

Berlin Declaration: call to end primate experiments

Posted: 5 January 2006

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In August, at the 5th World Congress on Alternatives & Animals Use in the Life Sciences in Berlin, the Berlin Declaration was signed and presented by Dr Jane Goodall, calling for a global commitment to end primate experiments. Signed initially by 25 animal protection groups, including ADI, NAVS, LDF, and RSPCA the declaration has been expanded to include other bodies. It states:
“Animal protection organisations and scientists have united to call for an end to the use of non-human primates in biomedical research and testing. We urge governments, regulators, industry, scientists and research funders worldwide to accept the need to end primate use as a legitimate and essential goal; to make achieving this goal a high priority; and work together to facilitate this. In particular, we believe there must be an immediate, internationally co-ordinated effort to bring all non-human primate experiments to an end.”

Within a few days 71 more groups had contacted ADI to endorse the declaration – an indication that this is an issue that people who care about animals desperately want to see action on.
In the field of neuroscience – one of the core areas where increased primate use has been called for in the UK – we are funding a series of non-animal research projects showing that modern, sophisticated neuro-imaging techniques can replace animals and improve science. We currently have a major commitment to fund an fMRI facility at Aston University until the end of the decade.

The 5th World Congress on Alternatives & Animals Use in the Life Sciences heard several presentations from LDF grantholder Dr. David Dewhurst on the latest developments we are supporting in the use of computer simulations to replace animals in teaching. As part of the Focus on Alternatives coalition, we also had a poster displayed outlining various initiatives in non-animal research. Others at the conference were determined to maintain the status quo. Exhibitors included Ellegaard Gottingen Minipigs, animal suppliers Janvier and Harlan, and contract testing lab Safepharm. The Gottingen stall holder was asked why they were at a conference with emphasis on “alternatives”, he replied, “pigs are an alternative to dogs.” It was because of such thinking that we fought so hard in the UK, for a National centre for replacement, and not “refinement, reduction, and replacement”, (the 3Rs), which unfortunately was what the Government settled on.

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