Thursday, September 09, 2010

Animal Testing Restrictions Adopted By European Parliament

European Union on Wednesday ruled to ban animal testing on primates -- including chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans -- as it tries to scale back the number of animals used in scientific research.

After two years of intense debate on how to protect animal welfare without hindering scientific research, the European Parliament agreed to cut back the number of animal tests in Europe and enforce stricter regulations for animal use in research.

Under the new legislation, experiments on great apes are to be banned and strict regulations set on the use of primates in general.

Members of the 27-nation union have been given two years to comply with the rulings. They also need to “ensure that whenever an alternative method is available, this is used instead of animal testing.” And they must find ways to reduce the “level of pain inflicted on animals.”

The revision to the 25-year-old rules had originally envisioned a more complete ban on primate research, but were heavily contested and lobbied by industry.

Researchers argued that primates were crucial for work in finding cures for diseases such as HIV, Alzheimer’s, cancer, hepatitis, malaria and others.

In theory, great apes can be used in such research, but in practice license applications face tough EU scrutiny.

Researchers feel a fair balance has been brought to the table.

Full story here.

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