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MEPs vote on animal research regulations 5 May, 2009

5 May, 2009

MEPs vote on animal research regulations today

This morning, in the Strasbourg Parliament, the Animal Defenders International (ADI) team have reported on the vote of MEPs, on a new directive on the use of animals for scientific purposes.

The European Commission’s proposals, published November last year, have been argued over for months in committee, and have now been amended extensively.

The Commission’s proposal for a 7-year phase-out of the use of primates born of wild-caught parents has been delayed indefinitely, after heavy lobbying from the primate trade and industry.  

Claims that scientific research would go abroad have been shown to be false – economic data shows that the UK pharmaceutical industry has increased its trade surplus by 300% during the last 23 years – when the UK has had one of the strictest science and animal research regulatory systems in Europe.  However, European MEPs worried about trade have caved in to industry demands.

MEPs have agreed, however, to bi-annual review of the use of primates.

One of the worst amendments adopted is removal of the requirement for animal experiments to be authorised by a national authority.  This amendment removes all scrutiny and public accountability.

Instead of all animal experiments requiring prior authorisation or licensing, as is the case in most EU Member States, MEPs have decided that only experiments causing moderate or severe pain, or use of primates, should require authorisation.  This means that 4.6 million experiments would take place in Europe each year, without public scrutiny, accountability, or prior authorisation by national authorities.

MEPs have agreed to regular reviews of the use of specific species in research.

Primate facts

  • Over 10,000 primates die in European labs each year and an estimated 10% of EU lab primates are taken from the wild.
  • Nearly half (48%) of the world’s primates are in danger of extinction according to the ICUN. The extinction threat nearly doubled in a year – from 26% in 2007.
  • Primates are important to the health of their surrounding ecosystems. Through the dispersal of seeds and other interactions with their environments, primates help support a wide range of plant and animal life in the world’s tropical forests. Healthy forests provide vital resources for local human populations, and also absorb and store carbon dioxide that causes climate change.

The full investigative ADI video ‘Save The Primates’ is available to watch.

‘Primate Testing in Europe – A report on the use of primates in regulatory testing in a typical European commercial testing laboratory’ (full) is available in pdf.

In September 2007, the European Parliament adopted a Declaration co-originated by ADI calling for bans on the use of wild-caught primates and great apes, along with a timetable for phasing out the use of all primates in experiments. 55% of MEPs signed the Declaration, making it the most supported on an animal protection matter ever.

Watch our Save the Primates Video

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