BUAV accuses EU Council of issuing misleading public statement on animal testing
The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), of which the BUAV is the UK member group, has accused the EU Council of Ministers of issuing a highly misleading press statement about the changes to the animal experiments directive (Directive 86/609). The ECEAE has made a formal complaint of maladministration to the European Ombudsman against the Council.
On 3 June, the Council adopted its ‘common position’ on the new directive and subsequently issued a press statement. Amongst the complaints made by the ECEAE:
The statement claimed that animal protection would be ‘strengthened’ because researchers would have to use alternative methods whenever scientifically available. In fact, this is already an obligation under the existing directive. Worse, the new rules would in fact significantly weaken the current obligation – researchers would only have to use a scientifically suitable non-animal method if it was included in EU legislation, which only applies to a minority.
The statement claimed that there would be ‘tight restrictions’ on the use of non-human primates, whereas with the exception of Great Apes primates could be used for research into any human ailment, no matter how trivial (such as baldness). The statement also said that primates would have to come from captive-breeding and self-sustaining colonies, whereas in fact this is only a long-term aspiration and may never happen.
The statement said that animal experiments will have to be authorised in advance by governments, whereas in fact governments can opt out with toxicity tests, which account for around a million every year.
Michelle Thew, BUAV and ECEAE Chief Executive, said:
‘This is yet another example of politicians misleading the public into believing that they are improving the lot of animals in laboratories, in line with public opinion. Sadly, the rhetoric just does not match the reality. In fact, in some ways things will be even worse for animals across the EU. We are extremely disappointed that an opportunity to improve animal welfare and place greater restrictions on animal experimentation has so far been lost. We are determined to force the politicians and officials to at least be honest with the public.’
6th July 2010