Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI presents 10,000 signatures to key EU Rapporteurs

Posted: 2 December 2009


The EU Commission, Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers and key Rapporteurs, were presented yesterday with a letter signed by over 10,000 people urging them to use the revision of the new Directive on animal testing to ensure the best possible protection for lab animals.

To show the strength of public support, Animal Defenders International (ADI) handed a letter with over 10,000 supporter signatures from Europe and across the globe to key EU representatives including Elisabeth Jeggle, Rapporteur (EPP), Marit Paulsen, Shadow Rapporteur (ALDE) and Jill Evans, Shadow Rapporteur (Greens/EFA).

In December, the European Commission, the Presidency of the Council, the Rapporteur and Shadow Rapporteurs for the new Directive on animal testing are holding their last trialogue meetings, which could seal the fate of the millions of animals which are used in EU laboratories each year.

The new Directive, for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, was proposed in 2008 to replace the outdated EC Directive 86/609/EC. This provides the greatest opportunity in over 25 years to influence the use of animals, and in particular primates, in laboratories.

Over 5,000 British and nearly 3,000 Italian citizens signed the letter with the remainder coming from all over the world. The letter requests that the Directive includes:

•A ban on the use of great apes and wild-caught primates;
•Limits on primate experiments;
•A phase-out of the use of monkeys born of wild-caught parents;
•Prohibition of severe and prolonged suffering for animals in experiments;
•Authorisation of all experiments by national governments before they take place, using an authorisation process that is transparent, independent and accountable to the public;
•A comprehensive authorisation and licensing system for suppliers of laboratory animals, user establishments, and individuals who use animals, together with a strict training regime;
•Permission to use animals is only given if advanced techniques to replace animals have been considered first;
•Every two years, a review should take place of the use of specific species, or types of experiment, and targets should be set to replace animals in particular tests;
•Establish an EU centre for replacement of animal experiments;
•EU standards for husbandry and care that meet the ethological needs of the animals;

The three EU institutions have been in disagreement over key points of the Directive and Animal Defenders International (ADI) is pushing for the best possible compromise for both animals and science. If the Trialogue does not reach an agreement before the end of the year, then the Directive will return to the European Parliament for a second reading.

ADI has compiled shocking footage of the treatment of monkeys in animal testing labs and in supply facilities, and monkeys being caught in the wild for experiments. It has provided information and briefings to MEPs to push for the best possible protection for laboratory animals.

Tim Phillips, ADI Campaign Director, said: “The fate of millions of animals hangs in the balance as key EU decision makers debate the new Directive. This Directive presents a unique chance to move forward with the replacement of animal experiments with alternatives and address key welfare issues such as the wild capture of monkeys. The decisions in Brussels will affect the lives of laboratory animals for years to come and we are very concerned that there is a rush to compromise animal protection in order to achieve a quick agreement.”

Elisabeth Jeggle, EPP, said: “In Europe we already have the highest welfare standards when it comes to animal experiments in the world and this directive will raise those standards even further. I thank the Animal Defenders International for their constructive work and I am confident that we will achieve a balanced compromise that strengthens animal welfare while allowing vitally important research to continue in Europe and not in countries where animal welfare standards are much lower.”

Jill Evans, EFA, said: “Thanks to everyone who signed this petition and the hundreds of people who have written to me. This shows how deep the concern runs that Europe must adopt the strictest laws to protect animals, and to ensure that alternatives to animals are implemented.”

She continued: “This petition will help our fight to get the best deal possible in the ongoing negotiations.”

More than half of all MEPs in the European Parliament signed a Declaration in 2007, calling for a ban on the use of great apes and wild caught monkeys and for a timetable to phase out all primate experiments.

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