Dire EU Figures On Vivisection


Latest EU figures on lab animals disappoint activists

LONDON: The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), an umbrella group of key animal protection groups across the EU, has expressed “profound” disappointment at the lack of a significant decrease in the number of animals used in experiments across the European Union.

The organization was commenting on the publication of the Sixth Statistical Report by the European Commission which covers data collected by 27 Member States for the year 2008.

It was the first time since 2005 that the statistics were made available. They were released only weeks after the EU adopted new legislation on animal experimentation, which replaced an earlier directive from 1986. ECEAE branded the new legislation a missed opportunity to introduce measures that would have given greater protection to animals used in experiments.

“Despite the opportunity to improve the lot of animals in laboratories, the recently adopted legislation does not include any mechanism to systematically reduce and ultimately replace the use of animals in research. The future looks bleak for the millions of animals who will continue to suffer and die each year in EU laboratories” ECEAE Chief Executive, Michelle Thew, told Bikya Masr.

About 12 million animals were used in 2008, just slightly below the 2005 figure, which was 12.1 million. France, UK and Germany were the top users and accounted for 55% of the total. Of this group, the UK was the country where use grew most (21% to 2,266,884). It was followed by Germany with 11% (to 2,021,782) and France (0,13% to 2,328,380).

Elsewhere, the increase of animals was even more significant. In Spain the number grew 51% to 897,859. In Estonia, it grew by 610% to 37,794. In Ireland the increase was 197% to 112,835.

21,000 dogs were used in experiments, including 354 dogs, who were poisoned to death in Lethal Dose 50 tests. Amongst other species there were 4,000 cats, 92,000 pigs, 330,000 rabbits and over 9,000 nonhuman primates, many of whom are wild-caught. Rodents accounted for the majority of animals, or 9,500,000 individuals.

According to the report, Botox tests boosted numbers as nearly 90,000 rodents were used in tests for this particular product, up from 33,000 individuals in 2005. Every batch of Botox has to be tested for safety on mice before it is applied to humans.

The prospect for animals in laboratories is even grimmer for the next report. With the recent passing of the EU’s REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances) regulation, all chemicals will have to be tested on animals. For that reason, it is estimated that another nine million animals will be used in tests by 2018.

By Antonio Pasolini




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