National Anti-vivisection Society

 

National Antivisection Society

Euro Parliament moves to end primate testing

Posted: 14 June 2007

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European MPs of all parties rushed to support a new Written Declaration this week, calling for an end to the use of Great Apes and wild-caught primates in research.

Written Declaration 40/2007 has received unprecedented cross-party support within the European Union, as Euro MPs answered the call of an URGENT ‘GORILLAGRAM’ from Animal Defenders International (ADI), on behalf of the primate nations.

The urgent Gorillagram from the primate nations reminds MEPs that:

  • Most primates share over 90% of their DNA with humans, and that they are intelligent, use tools, have language and feel similar emotions to ourselves.
  • They are are closest relatives on the tree of life and deserve special consideration.
  • The very existence of the primate nations is under threat from the worldwide laboratory animal trade, as well as bushmeat, pets and entertainment industries.
  • The members of the European Parliament are in a unique position – at a stroke, they can make an important compassionate and conservationist stand.
  • This is also an opportunity to accelerate development of the latest human research techniques to replace misleading animal test data.

With over 100 signatures already, Written Declaration 40/2007 urges the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament to use the revision process of animal experiments Directive 86/609/EC as an opportunity to:

(a) make ending the use of apes and wild-caught monkeys in scientific experiments an urgent priority;
(b) establish a timetable for replacing the use of all primates in scientific experiments with alternatives.

This reasonable and practical proposal is gaining huge support from politicians, the scientific community and conservationists.

Politicians declare support
UK MEP John Bowis, said: “I have signed this Declaration because I believe, as many scientists, parliamentarians and members of the public, experiments on primates are both unethical and inefficient and can and should be replaced with more advanced scientific techniques.”

UK MEP Chris Davies, Lib Dem, said: “Techniques to recognize animals’ pain and suffering are too often inadequate in research laboratories. Particular attention has to be paid to the needs of primates, man’s closest relatives. The aim must be to reduce and eventually end all tests using monkeys and primates, even for medical research”. ,

Slovenian MEP Mojca Drcar Murko said: “I support Written Declaration 40 because advanced alternatives to primate experiments in medical research already exist and because it is high time to convey our compassion to our species-cousins".

Portuguese MEP Paulo Casaca also urged parliamentarians to sign: “As an MEP I want the European Union to show the world the way forward for the animals. With the revision of Directive 86/609 on the use of animals in experiments, the EU can make an historical progress by gradually banning primates in laboratories and replacing them by safer and more reliable alternatives. This is a step forward not only for the animals, but also for the competitiveness of our high-tech industry, for science, and for the humans.”

UK MEP Dr Caroline Lucas said in support: “The EU is currently reviewing its rules of laboratory animals, and we must use this opportunity to immediately ban the use of primates in experiments anywhere in the EU, in favour of more modern and effective alternatives like computer modelling, tissue or cell cultures and micro-dosing.”

Swedish MEP Jens Holm commented: “It is about time to end experiments on primates. Primates are sentient beings and are fully capable of having feelings like humans: joy, happiness or anger. Their interest must be fully taken into account and cruelty against them must stop.”

French MEP Martine Roure said: “The recent adoption of the REACH regulation has shown that Europe, and the European Parliament in particular, wishes to privilege modern technologies as methods of replacement. We must be coherent, if we ask for the substitution of chemical products; we must also impose scientific experiment practices that do not use research on primates”

UK MEP Neil Parish, agreed: “We should seek to do everything possible to develop new techniques and technologies that enable us phase out testing on primates, and a Parliament declaration would provide fresh impetus to this cause, and encourage a timetable to be set.”

UK MEP Liz Lynne, said: A move away from experiments on primates is an important humane step and I hope this commission considers this, with a revision of the directive concerning the rules for animal experimentation across the EU.”

UK MEP Sharon Bowles concurred: “It is unsurprising that 90% of the compassionate British public would like to see more funding allocated to non-animal alternatives for testing. Many alternatives do exist, but their use and further development requires investment and a commitment to innovation.

This investment is increasingly repaid with the relevant, accurate and specific data which animal models have failed to provide.”

Scientists back ban
Dr Michael D Coleman, Senior Lecturer in Toxicology and Doctor of Science at Aston University, said: “As well as the ethical considerations, scientifically, primates are simply not close enough to us to act as good experimental models and we should be promoting replacement of animal work with human cellular systems. We must leave behind the intellectual laziness of relying on animal models and invest in human-cellular based alternatives for the future.”

Zvezdana Kojic, MD PhD, Assistant Professor of Physiology at the School of Medicine,

University of Belgrade, said “I would like to signify my support for an end to the use of primates in research.”

Conservationists appeal to governments
The following conservationists and organizations have all signed a public declaration asking governments to end the use of Great Apes and wild-caught primates in research:

Dr Jane Goodall
Professor Roger Fouts, Central Washington University
Deborah Fouts, Director, Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, Central
Washington University
Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA)
Sheila Siddle, OBE of the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage, Zambia
UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Project

Jan Creamer, ADI chief executive said today: “We are delighted that so many MEPs are answering the call to protect the primate nations. These are our relatives. They suffer similar emotions to ourselves and therefore their suffering when captured from the wild, imprisoned in holding cages, taken from their families, shipped across the world and used in experiments in European laboratories is indefensible. We, as intelligent human beings with an understanding of what we are doing to these members of the other primate nations, have no excuse. Scientists, conservationists and parliamentarians agree – it is time to end the use of Great Apes and wild-caught primates in laboratories, and set a timetable for and end to the use of our biological cousins in all research.

“It is time for humanity to recognise that other primates are nations, too. They have families, express emotions, and communicate in highly sophisticated ways. In 1928 Henry Beston wrote of other species: ‘We patronise them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves...... they are not underlings, they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth’. This poses the question, what level of “higher” primate are we, if we exterminate the closest members of our family tree?”

ADI is pushing for the backing of over 200 MEPs at next week’s Plenary Session of the Parliament in Strasbourg.

Click here to read ‘The Primate Nations’ Report

_________________________ENDS_________________________

NOTES TO EDITORS

MEPs who support a ban on primate testing include:

Austria
BÖSCH Herbert PES AT
ETTL Harald PES AT
LEICHTFRIED Jörg PES AT
MARTIN Hans-Peter NI AT
SCHEELE Karin PES AT
SEEBER Richard EPP-ED AT
VOGGENHUBER Johannes Greens/EFA AT

Belgium
BREPOELS Frederica EPP-ED BE
JONCKHEER Pierre Greens/EFA BE
STAES Bart Greens/EFA BE
VAN HECKE Frank Greens/EFA BE
DE KEYSER Véronique PES BE
TARABELLA Marc PES BE
STAES Bart Greens-EFA BE

Bulgaria
PARVANOVA Atonyia ALDE BG

Cyprus
ADAMOU Adamos UEL/NGL CY

Czech Republic
FALBR Richard PES CZ
REMEK Vladimir EUL/NGL CZ

Denmark
AUKEN Margrete Greens/EFA DK
CAMRE Mogens UEN DK

Estonia
KELAM Tunne EPP-ED EE

Finland
HASSI Satu Greens/EFA FI
JÄÄTTEENMÄKI Anneli ALDE FI
KAUPPI Piia-Noora EPP-ED FI
MYLLER Riitta PES FI
POHJAMO Samuli ALDE FI
SEPPÄNEN Esko EUL/NGL FI
STUBB Alexander EPP-ED FI

France
BENNAHMIAS Jean-Luc Greens-EFA FR
BOURZAI Bernadette PES FR
COUTEAUX Paul Marie IND-DEM FR
ISLER BEGUIN Marie Anne Greens/EFA FR
ROCARD Michel PES FR
ROURE Martine PES FR
SCHENARDI Lydia ITS FR

Germany
ALVARO Alexander Nuno ALDE DE
BREYER Hiltrud Greens/EFA DE
CRAMER Michael Greens/EFA DE
HARMS Rebecca Greens/EFA DE
HORÁČEK Milan Greens/EFA DE
KALLENBACH Gisela Greens/EFA DE
KAUFMANN Sylvia Yvonne EUL/NGL DE
MARKOV Helmuth EUL/NGL DE
OEZDEMIR Cem Greens-EFA DE
RÜHLE Heide Greens-EFA DE
SCHROEDTER Elisabeth Greens/EFA DE
SOMMER Renate EPP-ED DE
ZIMMER Gabriele EUL/NGL DE

Greece
ADAMOU Adamos EUL/NGL GR
KARATZAFERIS Georgios IND-DEM GR
PAPADIMOULIS Dimitris UEL/NGL GR

Hungary
DOBOLYI Alexandra PES HU
HEGYI Gyula PES HU
HERCZOG Edit PES HU
KÓSÁNÉ KOVÁCS Magda PES HU

Ireland
DE ROSSA Proinissias PES IR
DOYLE Avril EPP-ED IR
HIGGINS Jim EPP-ED IR
McDONALD Mary Lou EUL/NGL IR
MITCHELL Gay EPP-ED IR
SINNOTT Kathy IND-DEM IR

Italy
AGNOLETTOVittorio Emanuele UEL/NGL IT
AITA Vincenzio EUL/NGL IT
CATANIA Giusto UEL/NGL IT
GOTTARDI Donata PES IT
GUIDONI Umberto UEL/NGL IT
KUSSTATSCHER Sepp Greens/EFA IT
MORGANTINI Luisa EUL/NGL IT
MUSACCHIO Roberto EUL/NGL IT
MUSCARDINI Cristiana UEN IT
ROMAGNOLI Luca ITS IT
SUSTA Gianluca ALDE IT

Latvia
GENTILVAS Eugenijus ALDE LT

Lithuania
GENTVILAS Eugenijus ALDE LU
STARKEVICIUTE Margarita ALDE LU
TURMES Claude Greens/EFA LU

Netherlands
de GROEN-KOUWENHOVEN Elly Greens/EFA NL
LIOTARD Kartika Tamara EUL/NGL NL
MEIJER Erik EUL/NGL NL
Poland
BUZEK Jerzy EPP-ED PL
KACZMAREK Filip EPP-ED PL
KUC Wieslaw Stefan EUL/NGL PL
CZARNECKI Marek NA PL
GERINGER de OEDENBERG Lidia PES PL
GIEREK Adam PES PL
PODKANSKI Zdzislaw Zbigniew UEN PL

Portugal
CASACA Paulo PES PT
ESTRELA Edite PES PT
FERNANDES Emanuel Jardim PES PT
MADEIRA Jamila PES PT

Slovenia
DRČAR MURKO Mojca ALDE SI
KACIN Jelko ALDE SI
JORDAN CIZELJ Romana EPP-ED SI

Spain
HAMMERSTEIN MINTZ Greens/EFA ES
SORNOSA MARTÍNEZ María PES ES

Sweden
HOLM Jens EUL/NGL SE
SVENSSON Eva-Britt EUL/NGL SE
SCHLYTER Carl Greens/EFA SE
GOUDIN Hélène ID SE
HEDH Anna PES SE

UK
ALLISTER Jim NI
ASHWORTH Richard James EPP-ED UK
ATTWOOLL Elspeth ALDE UK
BEAZLEY Christopher EPP-ED UK
BOWIS John EPP-ED UK
BOWLES Sharon ALDE UK
BUSHILL-MATTHEWS Philip EPP-ED UK
CASHMAN Michael PES UK
CHICHESTER Giles EPP-ED UK
CLARK Derek ID UK
CORBETT Richard PES UK
DAVIES Chris ALDE UK
de BRUN Bairbre EUL/NGL UK
DOVER Den EPP-ED UK
EVANS Jillian Greens/EFA UK
EVANS Jonathan EPP-ED UK
EVANS Robert PES UK
FORD Glyn PES UK
GILL Neena PES UK
HUDGHTON Ian Stewart EFA UK
HUGHES Stephen Skipsey PES UK
KARIM Sajjad ALDE UK
LAMBERT Jean Greens/EFA UK
LUCAS Caroline Greens/EFA UK
LYNNE Elizabeth ALDE UK
MARTIN David PES UK
McAVAN Linda PES UK
NATTRASS Michael Henry ID UK
NEWTON-DUNN Bill ALDE UK
NICOLSON James EPP-ED UK
PARISH Neil EPP-ED UK
SIMPSON Brian PES UK
SKINNER Peter William PES UK
SMITH Alyn Greens/EFA UK
STEVENSON Struan EPP-ED UK
STIHLER Cathrine PES UK
TANNOCK Charles EPP-ED UK
VAN ORDEN Geoffrey EPP-ED UK
WATSON Graham ALDE UK
WILLMOTT Glenis PES UK

Primate Experiments: The facts

MEPs back campaign to end primate tests across Europe

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