Another attempt to stop the use of non-human primates in medical research.
In September 2007 a record number of European parliament members (MEP) (433) signed a written declaration put forward by an animal welfare group based in the UK called Animal Defenders International. Currently round 12 million animals are used per year for experiments in the EU and of these, around 10, 000 are non-human primates.
The declaration has called for a timetable to be established for the phasing out of non-human primate use in animal experiments. Some MEPs and animal rights campaigners have called for an immediate ban believing that the primate's genetic proximity to humans and their highly developed social skills raise very important ethical issues. If this were to go ahead other arrangements would need to be made to support vital research into cancer and AIDS for which the European parliament is calling for additional research to be carried out.
The European Commission has basically refused to support the declaration. However, it will supposedly look at "significant revisions" to Directive 86/609/EC, which is the basis for regulating animal research across all European countries.
One can only hope that the changes will truly be significant. Either way, the EU is leagues ahead of the US in even debating this issue in a governing body.
Photo by deadeyebart a.k.a Brett.