Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Open letter to Neil Parish MEP and response

Posted: 26 March 2009

An Open Letter To Neil Parish MEP (Chairman of the Agriculture Committee)

From Advocates for Animals, Animal Aid, Animal Defenders International, Dr Hadwen Trust, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Uncaged

25th March 2009

Dear Mr Parish MEP,

As the lead member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, you have a key role in shaping the new law that will govern animal experiments across the European Union. The way you vote on March 31st could determine the fate of millions of animals.

You have already taken the extremely positive and welcome step of signing Written Declaration 40/2007 – which called for an end to the use of great apes and wild caught monkeys, as well as a timetabled phase-out of the use of all primates. We thank you for endorsing this important, ethical initiative. The Commission has also recognised that primate use is a matter of grave concern and introduced measures to reflect the Declaration in its proposal.

However, your draft report contained amendments that would seriously jeopardise protection for animals in laboratories. We know that there are powerful industry lobbyists working in Europe whose aim is to minimise regulation of animal experiments, which they portray as ‘unnecessary red tape’. However, we would urge you to take a principled stand when voting commences.

In particular, we urge you to support:

A ban on the use of great apes and wild caught monkeys, and a timetabled phase-out of the use of

F1 (first generation to be born in captivity) monkeys.

All amendments that ensure that primate experiments are regularly and thematically reviewed, with a view to establishing timetables to end them.

Independent scrutiny of all experiments before they are undertaken.

All amendments that would lead to greater transparency and accountability.

All amendments that would improve and enforce data sharing.

All amendments that ensure replacement of animals is at the heart of this Directive, including those seeking to establish national and EU centres for alternative methods.

On behalf of a public that wants progressive, state-of-the-art, animal-free science, thank you for doing all you can to support animal protection measures.

Response from Neil Parish MEP

"I am supportive of the ultimate aims outlined in this letter and it was for this reason that I volunteered to take on this report and try to improve the welfare of laboratory animals around the EU. Throughout this report, I have actively tried to strengthen the development of alternative testing methods wherever it has been possible, as I believe the key to ending animal experimentation is by making it obselete through the development of better and cheaper alternative methods."
"Unfortunately, we are not yet at the position where alternatives can replace all animal tests and I strongly believe that we have to ensure that medical research can take place until we reach that time. However, I am very interested in the proposals I have received for a regular thematic review of primate experiments with a view to eliminating those that are not essential for medical research."

"The report I have proposed is a huge step forward for the protection of laboratory animals. I understand that for some this report does not go far enough, but it is already a huge improvement on the current EU rules.”

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