Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International


Posted: 15 April 2008

Animal Defenders International Propose New Reviews to Directive That could Save The Lives of Millions of Animals

Brussels – Animal Defenders International and MEP Jens Holm are to present a new manifesto inside the European Parliament to outline improvements to the EU law on animal experiments, Directive 86/609/EEC.

Ahead of the update of the legislation, last year over 50% of the European Parliament signed a Written Declaration calling for an end to the use of Great Apes and wild-caught primates in research.

ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer and MEP Jens Holm will present the new manifesto of proposals for changes to the legislation, and discuss the progress to date.

Among the revisions proposed are:

  • A ban on the use of Great Apes and wild-caught primates, and a timetable for the phasing out of the use of all primates, to be replaced with advanced methods.
  • Protection for all animals used in research, e.g. invertebrates, foetal and embryonic animals, genetically modified and those killed for organs, or as surplus to requirements.
  • Ban on duplication – 160,000 animals suffer in duplicated regulatory tests each year in the European Union.
  • Bans on the use of animals for tobacco, alcohol and household products, psychological and behavioural research, military experiments.
  • Transparency, accountability, freedom of information and data sharing.
  • Strict licensing laws for projects and establishments.
  • Harmonization across Europe and standards for training of personnel.
  • Ethical and scientific reviews of animal use, before and after projects.
  • More introductions of advanced non-animal scientific techniques.
  • More regular reviews of the legislation – every 2 years.

It is looking likely that by this summer MEPs will sit down to discuss the Commission’s proposal, which is set to include the ban on the use of great apes for animal tests and all wild-caught primates. ADI is looking to the UK representatives for support at the review; the first one for over 20 years, especially since many of the proposals are in line with the UK legislation. With the current developments in science and technology racing ahead at a phenomenal rate, it is almost inconceivable that the wait for a review has been so long.

“No great apes have been used in UK laboratories since the early 1980s” says ADI CEO Jan Creamer. “We are therefore looking to the UK to hold a strong position and lead Europe forward in a compassionate and progressive decision for science and the animals. This review is grossly overdue, with today’s rapid scientific developments we should be looking at one every two years, at least”.

With support from over 430 MEPs, of all parties, including the Chair of the Parliament’s Intergroup for Animal Welfare Neil Parrish, Conservative ex-health minister John Bowis, Green MEP Caroline Lucas, MEPs Rebecca Harms, Martine Roure, Moija Drcar Murko and others, the call for a ban on the use of primates in research has enormous support.

The meeting will be chaired by Mr Jens Holm, MEP, a vocal supporter since the inception of the current Directive 86/609/EEC “It is essential that Commissioner Dimas takes these amendments into account when creating and fair and ethical proposal from the Commission.”

MEP John Bowis is also keen to see the adoption of the proposed reviews from ADI : “I believe we should give the highest priority to protecting animals in their natural habitat. That means neither capturing them direct for research, nor taking them to add to breeding stock for animals in captivity that are used for research”.

In September last year, 433 MEPs signed Written Declaration 40/2007 calling for urgent action to end the use of Great Apes and wild-caught monkeys in experiments and for a timetable to be set to end all experiments on nonhuman primates in Europe.

The Declaration, drafted by ADI, was adopted at the Parliament’s Plenary session, and now the European Commission will produce an action plan.

This move has the backing of every political group and MEPs from every country in Europe. The Declaration recognises that nonhuman primates are our closest relatives, with chimpanzees sharing over 98% of our DNA. Like us, they have forms of language and culture and live in family groups. Primates suffer terribly in laboratories and urgent action is required to bring their suffering to an end. We trust that this vote will immediately end plans for a centralised chimpanzee laboratory in Europe.

Over 10,000 nonhuman primates are used in experiments in Europe every year, with the UK being Europe’s largest user, followed by France and Germany.

Written Declaration 40/2007 was launched on April 24 2007, World Lab Animal Day, sponsored by a group of respected and visionary MEPs: John Bowis (UK), Martine Roure (France), Jens Holm (Sweden), Rebecca Harms (Germany) and Mojca Dr?ar Murko (Slovenia).

It urges the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament to use the revision process of Directive 86/609/EC as an opportunity to:

(a) make ending the use of apes and wild-caught monkeys in scientific experiments an urgent priority,

(b) establish a timetable for replacing the use of all primates in scientific experiments with alternatives;

It instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

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