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Animal Defenders International

MEPs vote to allow severe and prolonged suffering of lab animals in Europe

Posted: 31 March 2009

Tuesday 31st March: In the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee MEPs have backed a series of amendments that seriously weaken proposals from the European Commission to regulate animal testing across Europe. Some measures could set animal protection back decades.

This is the first revision for 23 years of Directive 86/609/EEC (regulating animal experimentation across Europe) and it had been hoped that it would be a major step forward, bringing in advanced replacement methods to gradually phase out animal use.

European Commission proposals to revise the legislation had been cautiously welcomed, although many felt they did not go far enough.

But MEPs, heavily briefed by animal supply and user industries, tabled hundreds of amendments to undermine the new proposals, flooding the committee members with multiple changes that muddied the waters. Today in AGRI Committee MEPs voted on over 500 amendments.

The amendments voted through by MEPs include:

•Reducing the scientific justification needed to experiment on monkeys – despite the enormous public concern, there will be less scrutiny of proposals to use primates.

•European Commission’s proposals to stop the trapping of wild monkeys – delayed indefinitely.

•Authorisation/licensing of almost all experiments would be ended – the majority of animal research would be a free-for-all.

•Allowing almost unlimited re-use of animals in all but a handful of experiments, including toxicity tests and inducing brain damage.

•Allowing animals to suffer severe and prolonged pain.

ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, says “This is a tragedy. MEPs are claiming to protect laboratory animals whilst simultaneously slashing protections proposed by the European Commission, which they spent years developing in consultation with all parties. Many people thought MEPs would strengthen these proposals and stand up to industry lobbyists, instead the Commission proposals are being torn apart. Even measures to prevent lab animal dealers from trapping wild monkeys have been slashed. This completely goes against public and political will, that wherever possible, animal research should be replaced by advanced techniques. Animals and members of the public have been badly let down today.”

80% of European citizens find primate research unacceptable.

In 2007, 55% of MEPs voted for an early end to the use of great apes and wild-caught primates, and for a phase-out of all primate use.

_______________ENDS_________________

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