Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Inquiry into primate research was biased and deeply flawed – says ADI

Posted: 17 November 2008

Animal Defenders International (ADI) and the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) have submitted a formal complaint to the European Commission about the organisation of a public hearing on the use of non- human primates in biomedical research. The hearing was initiated by the Scientific Committee on Health and Environment Risk (SCHER) following a public consultation on the use of primates in scientific experiments which ended in June this year.

ADI and NAVS welcome the initiative, but strongly protest at several elements of the process:

1. Short notice: Giving only 30 days notice of the hearing severely restricted attendance from the scientific community, particularly experts in primatology and alternatives to animal experiments.

2. Bias at the outset: The title of the hearing; “The need for non human primates in biomedical research, production and testing of products and devices” demonstrates a bias in favour of using animals in experiments. This did not provide for a balanced discussion.

3. Restriction of subjects to be discussed: The exclusion of key topics, such as primate capture, captivity, transport, behaviour and welfare ignores the effects of these issues on the outcome of scientific results, as well as disregarding the effects of the primate trade on worldwide conservation efforts.

4. Failure to address the European Parliament’s wishes: Failing to make replacing primate experiments with non-animal alternatives a central theme disregards the key aims of Written Declaration 40/2007, despite claims that the hearing was set up in response to this declaration, which was adopted in September 2007 with signatures from 433 MEPs.

ADI and NAVS, along with the Lord Dowding Fund for Humane Research (LDF), have jointly sent a formal complaint to the committee. ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, says “Without proper scientific input from those working with animal alternatives, and specialists in primatology, it is not possible for the Commission to make any policy recommendations to the European Parliament that can be considered balanced or scientifically robust. I am deeply concerned that this hearing is not up to the task of assessing the need for conducting unreliable and often horrific scientific experiments on our closest genetic relatives” _________________ENDS___________________


A copy of the letter that has been sent to the Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risk (SCHER) is available on request.

In the UK, the NAVS campaigned for the establishment of a centre for alternatives to animal testing, and the government responded with the creation of the UK National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs). Government funding for alternative techniques has since been increased, but the NAVS would like to see more emphasis on development of replacements.

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