EU figures on lab animals disappoint activists
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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
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.
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.