National Anti-vivisection Society

 

National Antivisection Society

Dublin vigil calls for support for EU and US moves to ban primate experiments

Posted: 31 August 2006

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When: Friday September 1st

Where: Dail Eireann, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Time: 6.30pm – 8pm

Dublin - To mark International Primate Day (September 1st, 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.

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.

Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN), a campaign partner of Animal Defenders International (ADI), will be initiating a drive to persuade Irish MEPs to back the written declaration before the European Parliament and will be marking International Primate Day with a candlelight vigil.

ARAN are releasing new video and photographs taken by ADI just recently 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 and ARAN fear the centre could fuel an explosion in EU monkey experiments.

John Carmody of ARAN says: “According to recent EU statistics, there are no monkey experiments taking place in Ireland. This puts Irish MEPs in an ideal position to back this humane move. We are also very concerned, that this new monkey factory in Spain will make monkeys available to researchers who have not used them before and we certainly don’t want them here.”

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); 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, Chief Executive ADI: “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 us and our fellow primates are striking. It is time for the European Union to take action to protect the primate nations.”

Twiggy, Alexei Sayle, Jenny Seagrove, Carol Royle, and Uri Geller have this week issued on-line video clips urging people to back International Primate Day.

A new report being released by ADI highlights the suffering of primates in laboratories, the problems of extrapolating data from monkeys to people, and the humane alternatives to these tests.

Jan Creamer, “Earlier this year, people in were horrified by the terrible side effects suffered by human volunteers, caused by the test drug TGN1412. Yet, the drug had been given to monkeys in doses 500 times stronger without such side effects. We are advocating humane and better science, for example micro-dosing which would have avoided the horrific side effects people endured because of TGN1412.”

John Carmody: “With more and more non-animal research methods available it is time to end cruel experiments on primates. We will be urging all of our supporters to contact their MEPs and back a ban on primate experiments.”

MEPs will be able to start signing the Written Declaration on primate experiments from 23rd September onwards.

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

_____________________________ENDS _____________________________

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

Contact: ARAN: John Carmody
Tel: 087-6275579
Email: [email protected]

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 survival of some of the non-human primate species – 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. 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 lab monkeys in the EU are macaques (1).

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

The Parliamentary Motions

European Parliament

Written Declarationpursuant 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.

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 being added every day and currently 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 us 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

Click here for Irish International Primate Day photocall

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