Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

Historic push for EU and US bans on monkey experiments

Posted: 8 September 2006

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To mark International Primate Day (September 1st) organised by Animal Defenders International, motions have been simultaneously placed before the European Parliament and the US House of Representatives calling for an end to experiments on non-human primates. Motions are also being tabled in the UK Parliament, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, and it is planned for other countries to follow suit.

This is believed to be the first time that a global animal protection campaign has been initiated in the US and European Parliaments on the same day, and signals an international drive to end non-human primate experiments.

The ADI campaign has the backing of Twiggy, Alexei Sayle, Jenny Seagrove, Carol Royle, and Uri Geller who this week have appeared online urging people to back a primate test ban. The call is also backed by over 150 animal protection groups around the world indicating how momentum is gathering on this especially sensitive area of animal research.

International Primate Day will be marked with activity in Europe and the USA, with a new report on non-human primate experiments being delivered to Tony Blair at 10.30am on Friday, 1 September. The new ADI report will highlight not only the similarities between humans and other primates, but the crucial differences that are so important in biomedical research, as well as the non-animal techniques that could be used instead.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI: “Earlier this year, people in the UK were horrified by the terrible side effects suffered by human volunteers, caused by the test drug TGN1412. The drug had been given to monkeys in doses 500 times stronger without such side effects.”

The report is accompanied by a new video and photographs taken this summer inside Europe’s largest laboratory monkey supply facility. The facility in Camarles, Spain currently holds several hundred macaque monkeys from Mauritius but has a capacity for around 3,000. Europe currently uses a total of approximately 7,500 macaques a year, so ADI fear the centre could fuel an explosion in EU monkey experiments.

It’s time for change

The EU is currently considering plans to overhaul animal experimentation rules under EC Directive 86/609, including a possible ban on experiments on chimpanzees and a review of the future of experiments on monkeys in the EU. If the EU takes a stand as is hoped, then it would be logical for the US to do the same.

A Written Declaration is being sponsored in the European Parliament by UK MEPs David Martin, Vice-President of the European Parliament (Labour–Party of European Socialists); Robert Evans (Lab–PES); Sajjad Karim (Liberal Democrats–Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe); together with Portuguese MEP Paulo Casaca (PES), President of the Inter Group on Animal welfare and Swedish MEP Carl Schlyter (Green Party). The declaration supports International Primate Day and urges:

“… the Commission to propose an end to all non-human primate experiments in the revision process of Directive 86/609 EC on the use of animals in scientific procedures, specifically: to prohibit chimpanzee experiments and the use of wild-caught primates in the EU and phase out all non-human primate experiments in the EU over the next 6 years.”

Jan Creamer: “There is a genuine opportunity to end the suffering of primates in laboratories. The EU has recognised this and MEPs have before them the chance to take huge step forward. These animals are our closest relatives; almost all of the primate species share more than 90% of their genetic make up with us, with chimpanzees and humans differing by as little as 2% of DNA. The similarities in behaviour, emotions, and intellectual performance between ourselves and our fellow primates are striking. It is time for the European Union to take action to protect the primate nations.”

The motion before the US House of Representatives is being tabled by Nancy Pelosi (Democrat), the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.

The motion before the Scottish parliament is being tabled by Chris Ballance (Green Party).

An Early Day Motion before the UK Parliament has been tabled by Colin Challen MP (Lab), and has the backing of fourteen MPs - Bob Russell, David Drew, Andrew Dismore, Derek Wyatt, Eric Illsley, Kelvin Hopkins, Greg Knight, Jeremy Corbyn, Ann Cryer, Andrew George, David Taylor, Rudi Vis, Betty Williams, Linda Riordan.

ADI’s London office will be rallying supporters in the UK to call on their MEPs to sign the declaration and ADI San Francisco will be doing the same in the US.

Click here for more on International Primate Day

See photos of International Primate Day 2006

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