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EU proposes great ape research ban

The European Commission unveiled a linkurl:draft protocol;http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/lab_animals/pdf/com_2008_543.pdf on animal welfare today (Nov. 5) that proposes to ban testing on great apes including gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans. The pan-European initiative would extend a ban already in force in Austria, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Sweden across the entire 27-member bloc. The ban, however, would not greatly affect current research, because no testing

By | November 5, 2008

The European Commission unveiled a linkurl:draft protocol;http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/lab_animals/pdf/com_2008_543.pdf on animal welfare today (Nov. 5) that proposes to ban testing on great apes including gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans. The pan-European initiative would extend a ban already in force in Austria, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Sweden across the entire 27-member bloc. The ban, however, would not greatly affect current research, because no testing has been carried out on linkurl:great apes;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/24468/ in the EU for the past six years. Although research on other primates such as monkeys would not be affected under the proposed legislation, scientists are concerned that lawmakers in the European Parliament may call for amendments to further limit primate testing. "We are facing a strong push to restrict in any way possible the use of monkeys in research at a time when it is most needed and when there is no alternative," Simon Festing, director of the linkurl:Research Defence Society,;http://www.rds-online.org.uk/ told the__ linkurl:Daily Telegraph.;http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/earth/2008/11/05/sciapes105.xml __The proposal, which if adopted would update existing EU legislation on animal testing from 1986, includes a special provision allowing experimentation on great apes in the case of an unexpected debilitating human epidemic, or if the survival of the ape species itself was at risk. The Commission is also urging EU governments to linkurl:improve the treatment of all animals;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55073/ used in experiments. Apart from great apes, around 12 million vertebrate animals are used each year throughout the EU. The draft proposal calls for a reduction in this number and for independent "ethical evaluations" of all research projects involving animal testing. "It is absolutely important to steer away from testing on animals," linkurl:Stavros Dimas,;http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/dimas/index_en.htm EU Environment Commissioner, said in a statement. "Scientific research must focus on finding alternative methods to animal testing, but where alternatives are not available the situation of animals still used in experiments must be improved." The new proposal follows a linkurl:decision;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55130/ last week by local lawmakers in Bremen, Germany, to halt University of Bremen neuroscientist linkurl:Andreas Kreiter's;http://www.brain.uni-bremen.de/staff/ak.htm studies involving macaques. The proposal will probably be debated for at least a year before coming to a vote. A separate EU law banning the sale of cosmetics tested on animals is due to come into force next year.
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Comments

Avatar of: Dorothea Penizek

Dorothea Penizek

Posts: 6

November 6, 2008

Although I am all for treating animals well, I am afraid that some extreme Animal Rights fanatics are behind this and that it will harm and hinder research beneficial to humans.
Avatar of: John Pippin

John Pippin

Posts: 6

November 6, 2008

Kudos to the EC for the courage and determination shown by this proposal. If only the US had similar concern for science that is both humane and sound in principle. If this proposal withstands attacks and amendments, it may be the beacon that lights the way for my country.

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