End Primate Experiments in Europe
Despite widespread support from both the public and MEPs for a timetabled replacement of all primates in experiments to be included in the new Directive on animal research, sadly this progressive step has failed to materialise. Not only that, but the latest draft of the Directive also brings with it the potential for two shocking retrograde measures to be introduced. The first would prevent national governments from introducing higher welfare standards than those set out in the final Directive, and the second would weaken the existing legal requirement for researchers to use non-animal methods. The Directive has not yet been finalised, and there is still a chance that further amendments will be tabled, but it is clear that this new law will not bring the progress once hoped for.
This recent campaign has highlighted the fact that the majority of legislators still believe - thanks to extensive and well-funded lobbying by drug companies - that the choice lies between advancing human medicine and protecting animals. To help combat this, Animal Aid is now producing a regular anti-vivisection bulletin, which is sent to all MPs and MEPs. It contains succinct but fully referenced examples of new non-animal developments, and also illustrates the damage that reliance on animal data can cause. Hopefully this will encourage legislators to be more critical of what the pro-vivisection lobby tells them, and implement some improvements to current legislation.
Of course, this disappointing result should not discourage us from continuing to campaign for an end to all animal experiments. Animals are not tools to be used for our benefit, and the abuse inflicted upon them in laboratories across the world has no justification. The harm that comes to human beings from relying on misleading animal data further highlights the importance of this campaign. For the sake of both animals and humans, we must continue to push for an end to vivisection.