National Anti-vivisection Society

 

National Antivisection Society

Historic push for EU and US bans on monkey experiments

Posted: 31 August 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.

_____________________________ENDS _____________________________

High res photographs and video inside the laboratory animal supplier and celebrities available.

EDITOR’S NOTES:

International Primate Day was founded in 2005 by Animal Defenders International, as part of our ‘My Mate’s a Primate’ campaign which is an alert to the four major threats to the very survival of some of the non-human primate nations – the bushmeat, laboratory, pet, and entertainment trades.

The USA is the largest user of laboratory primates in the world. The UK is the largest user of laboratory monkeys in the EU with primate test up in 2005. Three countries, the UK, France and Germany are responsible for almost all of the 10,000 experiments on monkeys in the EU (1).

The Spanish monkey dealer exposed by ADI is importing macaque monkeys from Mauritius. It will have an estimated capacity for 3,000 macaque – almost half of the EU’s annual macaque use (75-80% of all laboratory monkeys used in the EU are macaques(1)).


(1) EC 86/609 Expert consultation, NAVS and references therein.

The Parliamentary Motions

European Parliament

Written Declaration pursuant to Rule 116 of the Rules of Procedure, by Robert Evans, Paolo Casaca, David Martin, Sajjad Karim and Carl Schlyter on primates in scientific experiments:

– having regard to Rule 116 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. considering Protocol No. 33 to the EC Treaty stating that, “the Community and the Member States shall pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals” in formulating the Community’s research policy,

B. noting the Berlin Declaration, signed by over 200 international animal protection organisations, scientists, public figures and parliamentarians calls for: “…an immediate, internationally co-ordinated effort to bring all non-human primate experiments to an end.”

C. noting that primates have a high level of intelligence, being the closest relative to humans, with certain species such as chimpanzees sharing 98% of human DNA,

D. noting that International Primate Day 2006 organised by Animal Defenders International is aimed at raising awareness worldwide about the hazards faced by non-human primates. The very existence of primates is being threatened by the bushmeat, laboratory, entertainment and pet trades,

I. 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,

II. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Council, Commission and Member States.

UK Parliament:

Early Day Motion 2633: International Primate Day, tabled by Colin Challen MP (Lab), and has the backing of fourteen MPs (Bob Russel, 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).

“That this House welcomes International Primate Day on 1st September 2006, organised by Animal Defenders International; expresses its deep concern that the United Kingdom has become Europe’s largest user of laboratory monkeys; notes that the use of monkeys in military experiments has soared by 76 per cent. in the last five years; highlights that the use of non-human primates is an unreliable predictor of likely human effects, as the disastrous TGN1412 has shown; is alarmed by the fact that the very existence of many primate species is threatened by the bushmeat, laboratory and pet trades as well as the use of primates for entertainment; calls on the Government to push for a ban on primates in experiments at the EU level during the current revision process of EU Directive 86/609; and further asks the Government to support the Berlin Declaration calling for an end to primate experiments, which has been signed by over 70 organisations worldwide.”

Scottish Parliament:

Motion tabled by Chris Ballance (Green Party) – International Primate Day -

“That the Parliament welcomes International Primate Day on 1st September 2006, organised by Animal Defenders International; expresses its deep concern that the United Kingdom has become Europe’s largest user of laboratory monkeys; notes that the use of monkeys in military experiments has soared by 76 per cent. in the last five years; highlights that the use of non-human primates is an unreliable predictor of likely human effects, as the disastrous TGN1412 has shown; is alarmed by the fact that the very existence of many primate species is threatened by the bushmeat, laboratory and pet trades as well as the use of primates for entertainment; calls on the Scottish Executive to push for a ban on primates in experiments at the EU level during the current revision process of EU Directive 86/609; and further asks the Scottish Executive to support the Berlin Declaration calling for an end to primate experiments, which has been signed by over 200 animal protection organisations, scientists, public figures and parliamentarians worldwide.”

Welsh Assembly

Statement of Opinion tabled by Lorraine Barret AM (Lab – Cooperative)

“The National Assembly for Wales welcomes International Primate Day on 1st September 2006, organised by Animal Defenders International; expresses its concern that the United Kingdom has become Europe’s largest user of laboratory monkeys; is alarmed by the fact that the very existence of many primate species is threatened by the bushmeat, laboratory and pet trades as well as the use of primates for entertainment; calls on the Welsh Assembly Government, in any discussions at UK or European level, to give its support towards a ban on primate experiments, particularly during the current revision process of EU Directive 86/609.”

The US House of Representatives

Tabled by Nancy Pelosi (Democrat), the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.

“That this House welcomes International Primate Day on 1st September 2006 organized by Animal Defenders International; expresses its deep concern that the United States is the world’s largest user of laboratory monkeys; highlights that the use of non-human primates is an unreliable predictor of likely human effects, as the disastrous TGN1412 has shown; is alarmed by the fact that the very existence of many primate species is threatened by the laboratory and pet trades as well as the use of primates for entertainment; calls on the federal government to push for a ban on primates in experiments; and further asks the federal government to support the Berlin Declaration calling for an end to primate experiments, which has been signed by over 85 organizations worldwide.”

The Berlin Declaration

This call for an end to the use of primates in research, has been signed by scientists, academics, animal welfare organisations and others worldwide. Signatures are still being added and now stand at 215 – representing the views of millions of ordinary people, worldwide.

It states:
“Animal protection organisations and scientists have united to call for an end to the use of non-human primates in biomedical research and testing. We urge governments, regulators, industry, scientists and research funders worldwide to accept the need to end primate use as a legitimate and essential goal; to make achieving this goal a high priority; and work together to facilitate this. In particular, we believe there must be an immediate, internationally co-ordinated effort to bring all non-human primate experiments to an end.”

Notes from the report My Mate’s a Primate (ADI, 2005):

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. Some scientists have even proposed that chimpanzees be included in the same genus as us humans (Homo sapien) – that they be reclassified as Homo troglodytes.

The similarities in behaviour, emotions, and intellectual performance between ourselves and our fellow primates are striking.

For example chimp babies need the same things as human children, they need to be held, loved, talked to and played with. Studies have shown that chimps are highly intelligent and co-operative; they nurture family bonds, adopt orphans, mourn, practice self-medication and engage in struggles for power. They also exhibit many of the same emotions once thought to be exclusive to humans such as jealousy, envy, compassion, greed, sloth, avarice and malice.

Even our slightly more distant relatives – the monkeys – can also display similar emotions and intelligence. Whilst chimpanzees may be our closest family, it is acknowledged that all the non-human primate species are intelligent, dextrous, can problem solve, live in important social structures, and require a stimulating environment.

Click here for more information on International Primate Day

Click here to sign up to the Berlin Declaration

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