Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


European Parliament Votes on New Animal Testing Provisions

Tuesday, 5 May 2009 redorbit.com news/science 

The European Parliament on Tuesday voted in support of a limit on the level of pain inflicted on animals during testing in addition to supporting added efforts to develop non-animal alternatives.

The proposals still face approval from the EU’s 27 nations, but animal rights groups have already been outspoken in their criticism of the decision which represents weakening of an EU executive Commission proposal last year to improve the welfare of 12 million vertebrae animals used in experiments.

About half of the 12 million animals are used for drug testing and development, while one third is used for biology studies and the remainder for cosmetics and disease diagnosis, according to Reuters.

The Commission had discussed reducing the amount of experiments using 12,000 primates each year.

"We all want to see animal tests reduced. However, European citizens quite rightly demand the best and most effective medicines", said Neil Parish of the European Parliament.

"The Parliament report makes it clear exactly when testing on animals should be allowed and under what circumstances. It strikes a compromise between ensuring that research can continue in the EU and improving animal welfare", he added.

The members of the European Parliament endorsed a ban on the use of great apes that are at risk of becoming extinct, apart from experiments aimed at conserving these species.

“However, some aspects of the proposal, which would drastically restrict the use of primates such as ouistitis and macaques, could penalise European research to the advantage of its American or Asian competitors, which are less strict on animal welfare,” the EP said in a statement.

The members also called for a feasibility study to determine whether or not they would agree to a ban on capturing wild primates for lab use.

Many animal welfare groups have been outspoken in protest to the new provisions.

"The Parliament has produced a charter for the multibillion pound animal research industry to carry on business as usual, with scant regard either for animal welfare or public opinion," said Michelle Thew of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection.

European Parliament Fails Animals in Laboratories 

May 5, 2009 PETA

It’s been a busy day in the European Parliament for animals! Today, MEPs voted on a proposed directive for the protection of animals used in scientific procedures, but unlike the great news – ironically from the same source – about the EU ban on seal products, we’re disappointed to say that, overall, MEPs have turned their backs on animals in laboratories.

While we welcome a number of positive steps taken, for example giving extra support to non-animal tests, MEPs have neglected to take the opportunity to ensure animal experiments are properly regulated throughout the European Union. Almost all of the most progressive and imaginative parts of the Commission’s original proposal were thrown out, diluted or neutered by the First Reading vote. The result is a draft law that, if implemented, may improve the lives of animals in laboratories in some countries but would turn back the clock in others, including the UK.

Here are just a few examples: by failing to ensure that all animal experiments must be approved in advance by central authorities, by rejecting special restrictions on the use of non-human primates (yep, we’re primates too!) and by turning away from a definitive ban on causing severe and prolonged suffering to animals, the Parliament is showing just how out of touch it is with public opinion, animal welfare and good science.

New EU rules on animal testing ban use of apes  

Wed Sep 8, 2010

STRASBOURG, France (AFP) – Europe banned using great apes in animal testing Wednesday as it drastically tightened rules to scale back the number of animals used in scientific research.

After two years of heated debate on how to protect animal welfare without scuppering scientific research, the European Parliament agreed to reduce the number of animal tests in Europe and enforce stricter rules for animals used in research.

Under the new legislation, experiments on great apes such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans are to be banned and "strict" restrictions set on the use of primates in general.

Members of the 27-nation bloc, who have two years to comply with the rules, also need "to ensure that whenever an alternative method is available, this is used instead of animal testing." And they must work at "reducing levels of pain inflicted on animals."

The EU's health commissioner, John Dalli, dubbed it "a good compromise on a difficult topic." "Today we have the chance to bring the EU to the forefront by caring for animals and protecting science," he said.

Welcoming the adoption of the rules, despite objections notably from Green MEPs, environment commissioner Janez Potocnik said the EU "will soon be able to say it has the highest standards of experimental animal welfare in the world."

But animal testing abolitionists objected that the new rules failed to go far enough."Animals will still be used as guinea pigs," said the Greens in a statement. "They will still suffer pain." "It is possible to reduce the number of animals used for science without hindering research," added Belgian Green Isballe Durant.

Other MEPs disagreed, saying the demands of scientific research came over and above animal welfare. "An animal's an animal and a human being's a human being," said Italian conservative Herbert Dorfmann. "Medical progress is crucial to humanity and unfortunately, to achieve this progress there must be animal testing."

The legislation notably allows the use of primates in testing illnesses such as Alzheimer's, cancer or Parkinson's disease if there is scientific evidence that the research cannot be achieved without using these species.

To avoid repeated suffering by an animal, it lists different categories of pain that may be inflicted during a test (non-recovery, mild, moderate or severe) and proposes that the same animals be reused only if the pain is classed as "moderate," and provided a vet is consulted.

At the moment some 12 million animals are used each year in scientific experiments in the EU.

The legislation calls for government inspections on a third of national laboratories that use animals, some of which must be unannounced.

It also introduces tougher rules to protect animals used in research. All breeders, suppliers and users of these animals will have to apply for a licence, which can be withdrawn should they fail to comply with the regulations.

Last year the European Union banned the testing of animals for developing cosmetics, except for long-running toxicology tests which will be banned altogether in 2013.

March 11, 2013 Europe urges U.S., China to match ban on animal-tested cosmetics

Boycott “Hurtful Essences” Shampoo

IDA Newsletter, May 2009

Despite claims from corporate giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) that it tests products on animals only as a last resort and only when required by law, published scientific papers show that P&G took an already approved ingredient in Herbal Essences shampoo - butylparaben - and force-fed it in massive doses to pregnant animals.

Evidence uncovered by the British animal rights group Uncaged shows that P&G force-fed butylparaben  - a preservative used for decades in personal care products - to pregnant rats to see if it harms their developing offspring.

The experiment killed 1,300 animals (100 pregnant mothers and their 1,200 newborns) subjecting the mothers to stressful force-feeding for approximately three weeks, after which they were killed in carbon dioxide gas chambers. Experimenters then removed the slowly dying babies from their mothers’ bodies and killed them.

Information on the safety of butylparaben, one of a class of products known as parabens, has already been amply demonstrated at least twenty years earlier. Many of the animals used by P&G for this experiment received massive doses of butylparaben, which, according to the researcher in charge of the study “far exceeds human exposure estimates.”

These tests are not required by any law, and detailed information on this ingredient has been widely available for many years.

IDA is joining with the British group, Uncaged, to support an international day of action to shed light on P&G’s unconscionable animal testing.

May 11, 2009

End Animal Tests Now! 

Dear A.G. Lafley Chairman & CEO Procter & Gamble
Mary Woods, Herbal Essences Corporate External Relations Department 

Despite P&G's ongoing claims that it tests products on animals "only as a last resort" or "when required by law," information revealed by In Defense of Animals and Uncaged refutes this claim. Documentation shows that P&G conducted tests to force-feed butylparaben to pregnant rats to determine the safety of this ingredient for its Herbal Essences line of hair care. This already-approved ingredient has been used in personal care products for decades.

I will continue not to purchase Herbal Essences or any other P&G products until you permanently stop testing products on animals. 

Carmina Gooch, North Vancouver 

Comment: Procter & Gamble (P&G) is a gigantic American multinational corporation that manufactures a wide range of consumer products.  Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, it has an annual turnover of $68 billion! (2006)  It also conducts unnecessary, painful, cruel, and lethal tests on animals. Choose compassion; choose to buy products from companies that do not test on animals.  Join the global boycott of this company on May 16, 2009 from 2-4 in front of London Drugs, 1187 Robson, Vancouver, BC.

Quit monkeying around 

On top of being morally wrong, animal testing gives little to scientific research
Juli Kaiss and Paul York Oct 1, 2009 The Varsity.ca

Behind closed doors at the University of Toronto live animals are the subjects of inhumane scientific research and testing. Immunologists and medical researchers conduct cruel and unnecessary experiments on mice, pigs, dogs, rabbits, primates, turtles, guinea pigs, and invertebrates in the Medical Sciences and MaRS buildings. The experiments are often carried out for the purposes of research at the behest of corporations that pay the university to do their bidding. 

But U of T is not alone in these cruel practices. Such means of testing is happening everywhere. 

Using animals for medical experimentation, product testing, and education is a controversial and highly debated subject. While the issues are complex, the suffering involved in animal experimentation is painfully obvious. Millions of animals are used in federal and privately funded experiments in research centres and universities across Canada each year. For instance, non-human primates such as rhesus monkeys (also known as macaques) are tested on repeatedly and kept in laboratories for their entire lives. They are subjected to various research experiments and clinical drug trials involving tremendous pain, often leaving them with diseases such as SARS, TB, HIV, hepatitis, and various cancers. Primates are also routinely subjected to deprivation and psychological experiments for years on end. 

Most animals are euthanized following experimentation. Their lives are viewed as disposable.

Those who defend animal experimentation often cite how such experiments save human lives, but in fact most of the experiments do not benefit humanity. There are a number of famous cases where animal testing is alleged to have provided necessary breakthroughs, but upon closer examination, these allegations are not so clear-cut. 

One such example is the polio vaccine. Even in the medical community itself there are disputes over whether the vaccine was developed before or after clinical trials on monkeys. Additionally, the decline in cases of polio is now believed to be due to better public hygiene, not the vaccine. The small pox vaccine also has a contested history, as some claim that the major breakthrough occurred before clinical trials even began. 

“I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty,” said Dr. Charles Mayo, son of the co-founder of the well-respected Mayo Clinic. 

Canadian animal cruelty laws do little to protect animal test subjects. The Canadian Council on Animal Care is a federal organization set up to monitor and regulate the use of research animals in Canada. It outlines basic standards of treatment for laboratory animals, but compliance is voluntary. In a critique of the CCAC, David Sztybel, an expert in animal rights ethics and a professor in Brock University’s sociology department, notes that safeguards against inhumane treatment are inadequate for a number of reasons. Peer-reviews by fellow experimenters, for example, are conducted by those already desensitized to animal suffering. The standards for what counts as scientific advancement are very low. Research organizations systemically fail to investigate alternative methods of experimentation. And some researchers may also be swayed by the financial incentive to opt for clinical trials, which net grant money. Szybel concludes that the CCAC legitimizes, rather than prevents, unnecessary cruelty to animals.

Animal testing has led us to countless scientific dead ends, while detracting attention and funds from more humane techniques. In reality, animal research rarely guarantees that medications and other products will be safe and effective for humans. Regulators pull many drugs off the market because they caused illness or death in humans, reactions that were unforeseen based on previous tests on other animals. For example, Thalidomide was tested on thousands of animals with no ill effect, but then caused severe deformities in humans once marketed. In order to know what the effect of a drug will be on a human, it must be administered to a human. This raises the question of whether many of the drugs now available are sufficiently beneficial to justify the harm they could cause to any species, in the lab or outside it.

Those who oppose animal experimentation on ethical grounds believe that it is morally wrong to harm one species in hopes of benefiting another. When it comes to causing harm, there is no substantial difference between human and non-human animals: we all feel pain and do not wish to be held captive and tortured. If non-consenting experimentation and torture on human beings is ethically wrong on these grounds, it is also wrong to do this to non-human beings. Ethicist Peter Singer argues, “Either animals are unlike us and hence the experiments provide no useful data, or they are like us, in which case the experiments shouldn’t be done.” 

What’s more, there are several viable alternatives available to animal testing. Modern and innovative methods, including advanced computer technology and microsurgery models and mannequins with feedback mechanisms, have become the norm at many universities. Several universities now have medical program curricula with no live animal laboratories.7 John Hopkins University is working with scientists to find new methods to replace the use of laboratory animals, to reduce the number of animals tested, and to refine tests to eliminate pain and distress. The University of Toronto should follow their lead and rid itself of these inhumane, antiquated research practices.