The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tougher Laws for Animals in Research

Animal welfare campaigners have accused the European Commission of producing a “scientifically flawed” and biased report on the need for tougher laws to safeguard live animals used in research.

The EU-wide European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) will submit the 26-page dossier to the European Ombudsman tomorrow alleging that Brussels has ignored evidence on the threat facing primates.

And the RSPCA warned that MEPs must use their votes in Strasbourg on Tuesday to restore tighter measures and reduce the suffering of 10,000 chimpanzees, gorillas, orang-utans, and bonobos – the great apes most like humans – every year.

The proposals caused controversy in March when supporters of stricter controls blamed intense lobbying by pharmaceutical firms and animal research groups for diluting “virtually every measure” in the proposal.

Today Michelle Thew, chief executive of the ECEAE, said: “A recent opinion poll by YouGov in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and the Czech Republic showed that 81% of people are opposed to experiments on primates causing pain or suffering.

“This issue is enormously important not only for animal welfare but also for human health.

“It is truly unforgivable that the EU should come up with such a one-sided and unscientific report, from a working group (set up by the Commission) packed with inexpert animal researchers. We are asking the Ombudsman to order the Commission to set up a proper scientific inquiry as a matter of urgency”.

The Ombudsman investigates complaints of “maladministration” against EU institutions, and an ECEAE statement claimed that “it is maladministration (by the Commission) to set up an inexpert body, heavily biased to one side of the argument, and for that body then to produce an unbalanced and unscientific report, ignoring huge swathes of evidence supplied to it.”

A separate RSPCA statement said the organisation feared MEPs would “cave in after pro-animal use lobbyists made exaggerated claims that tougher rules on using primates will lead to live-saving research grinding to a halt in Europe”.

RSPCA Senior Scientist Barney Reed said: “In 2007, MEPs overwhelmingly supported a declaration calling for an end to the use of great apes and wild-caught primates in research in Europe and a clear strategy for replacing all primate experiments with humane alternatives.

“They now have the chance to back their words up with actions by voting for these measures to be part of a new law on animal experiments.”

If the MEPs do vote to weaken a new law meant to protect the primates, more than 10,000 a year will continue to suffer in “completely unacceptable” experiments, he warned:

“Primates have the capacity to suffer in similar ways to humans. There is no question that they can experience significant pain and psychological distress as a result of being confined in laboratories and used in experiments.”

The use of wild-caught primates in experiments was banned in the UK in 1995, but they are still routinely trapped for breeding and use in experiments in other countries.

The RSPCA says it is vital that the revised rules ban “procedures that cause severe animal suffering” and ban the use of great apes “without exception”.

Existing EU rules on animal experiments were agreed 22 years ago, and everyone agrees they need updating to guarantee better animal welfare.

But the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research, the UK non-animal medical research charity says MEPs have so far fallen for the “deliberate misrepresentation” of measures needed to deliver more ethical and compassionate standards as long as live animal experiments are required."


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