Saturday, September 29, 2007

Animal research no use against human diseases

Rick Marolt: Animal research no use against human diseases
A letter to the editor — 9/29/2007 Capital Times

Dear Editor: At a public debate on Sept. 26, Dr. Ray Greek made the argument, supported by much data and clear logic, that animal research does not and cannot help us cure human disease or find safe and effective drugs for humans. His debate opponent, Eric Sandgren from the UW-Madison, failed to present a meaningful rebuttal.

All of us should be outraged. Billions of our tax dollars have been used for decades to fund cruel and fatal experiments on emotional, social, intelligent animals because we believed that the research was necessary for curing human disease and finding safe and effective drugs for humans. Now we learn that we've been wrong and that our money should be going not to animal studies but to other research that does actually help humans.

The UW must now start the process of ending its animal research, and the Legislature must consider how to end animal research throughout the state.

But the UW benefits from animal research, and the Legislature won't act until the citizens demand change. So it's time for citizens to demand change from both institutions. Our health and the health of our family members and friends depend on it.

Rick Marolt, Madison

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dr. Sandgren should have done his homework.

At last night’s debate (9/26/07), “Are animal models predictive for humans?” Dr. Eric Sandgren, arguing that animal models are predictive for humans, presented three case studies that he felt proved his position. Dr. Ray Greek, arguing that animals are not predictive, presented innumerable surveys published in peer reviewed journals by scientists demonstrating that animal models consistently fail as accurate predictors of human disease and drug response. Dr. Greek’s evidence simply overwhelmed Dr. Sandgren’s three anecdotes.

Dr. Sandgen based his claim on William Harvey’s discovery, using animals, that the blood moves in a circle; Harry Harlow’s demonstrations with rhesus monkeys of some of the consequences of isolation; and UW researcher Michael N. Gould’s rat models of human breast cancer gene locus.

Dr. Greek argued that animal models do, very occasionally, predict human response. Dr. Sandgren’s position rested on his recitation of the three animal-based studies above, one from the early 1600s, one from the 1960s, and one from today.

Dr. Sandgren argued that, like it or not, Harlow’s work was beneficial. His claims concerning possible justifications for Harlow’s work were based on his misunderstanding of Harlow’s motivations and a misunderstanding of the medico-social milieu of the day. This isn’t entirely Dr. Sandgren’s fault since he seems to have relied heavily (solely?) on the opinions of history-rewriter Deborah Blum, an apologist for Harlow and the primate vivisection industry generally.

Dr. Sandgren’s defense of Harlow rested on his understanding of Blum; that, at the time, the standard advice to mothers from their doctors was to avoid touching their babies more than necessary to avoid disease and the creation of an overly dependent personality. But this claim is rubbish.

Deborah Blum makes the historically erroneous claim that prior to Harlow's publications on attachment no one was paying attention to the work of psychologists studying the effect of social and environmental deprivation in human children. She pointedly claims that Harlow began his work on "... mother love at a time when British psychiatrist John Bowlby could barely persuade his colleagues to join the words `mother' and `love' together." (p 150, Love at Goon Park)

But Bowlby was commissioned by the World Health Organization to study the effects of institutionalization on orphaned children. He published his landmark work, Maternal Care and Mental Health, in 1951. Harlow published "Love in Infant Monkeys" in Scientific American in 1959. And Bowlby was neither a pioneer in these studies of human children nor a lone voice; his was the establishment’s opinion.

Even more telling, in 1946, at the time when there were some doctors arguing for a hands-off approach to infant care, over a decade before Harlow began his experiments on attachment, Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care sold three quarters of a million copies in its first printing by telling parents to embrace their children and to trust their parenting instincts. Baby and Child Care was an instant and mammoth success becoming the number two best seller in history, second only to the Bible.

In fact, Harlow wasn’t interested in trying to change the way children were parented. His work on attachment was solely his contribution to an argument among theoretical psychologists over the reasons and theories employed at the time to explain the clear and widely acknowledged need of children to be raised by nurturing loving caregivers.

Harlow’s work predicted nothing; it duplicated in monkeys what had been long accepted as detrimental in children. Dr. Sandgren should have done his homework.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pregnancy and Alcohol Can Mix Says UW Primate Research

Madison, Wisc…. New research from long-time monkey researcher Mary Schneider of the University of Wisconsin, Madison has reported that the impact of chronic alcohol consumption by a pregnant mother may depend on the genetics of the fetus. This could be good news for liquor sales and bars if genetic screening could tell a woman whether her fetus is at increased risk of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Read all about it:

Study reveals possible genetic risk for fetal alcohol disorders
Sept. 21, 2007

by Madeline Fisher

New research in primates suggests that infants and children who carry a certain gene variant may be more vulnerable to the ill effects of fetal alcohol exposure.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Librarians Silent on Vivisection 'Book Burning'

Awaiting a reply...

January 1, 2007

Wisconsin Library Association
5250 East Terrace Drive, Suite A
Madison WI 53718-8345

Dear WLA and the Intellectual Freedom Round Table:

I am writing to complain about an instance of censorship of information that may have, and should have, involved University of Wisconsin librarians.

Attached, is an article from the Isthmus that provides some details of the situation. (Primate tapes get trashed, 08/11/2006.)

Briefly: the university denied public records requests for information held by the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center. Sixty-two days after one denial, documents, photographs, and sixty boxes of videotapes were destroyed by the primate center.

This matter should be of concern to the WLA for at least two reasons.

1. Important historical documents and unique visual records have been lost forever through an act of intentional destruction carried out under the auspices of the University of Wisconsin even as members of the public were asking for that information.

2. The Lawrence Jacobsen Library is housed at the primate center. It is a part of the primate center and a part of the University of Wisconsin General Library System. The library violated its mission when it chose not to collect this unique collection of information regarding research occurring at its own institution:

"The Wisconsin Primate Research Center Library and Information Service supports the research and outreach missions of the National Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. The library acquires, organizes, develops, provides access to, and delivers information resources in a variety of formats to Center scientists and staff, University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty and students, and persons worldwide with an interest in primatology. Essential to this mission is the effort to comprehensively collect and provide access to print, audiovisual and digital materials related to nonhuman primates in research, conservation, education, and veterinary care."

The mission of the June Northrop Barker Archives, part of the Lawrence Jacobson Library:

"The June Northrop Barker Archives serves to enrich and support the cross-disciplinary field of Primatology by acting as a repository for the history and science of this emerging field. To do this, the Barker Archives solicits, collects, organizes, describes, preserves and provides access to the research and historical documents, as well as the records of the international, national and regional organizations related to the field of Primatology."

The destruction of these documents, photographs, and sixty boxes of videotapes is grossly at odds with the library’s mission. Even if the tapes were damaged, the librarians should still have saved, repaired, and archived that information, and made it available to the library’s present and future users.

So much unique information has been irretrievably lost to the public – to say nothing of the loss to history and science – while these librarians either did nothing to prevent this loss or have remained silent after the fact.

The librarians at the Lawrence Jacobsen Library violated a fundamental professional ethic of the field of librarianship:

"The American Library Association defines intellectual freedom, a fundamental professional ethic of the field of librarianship, as the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas."

These librarians did not advocate for the intellectual rights of those seeking the information. The destruction of this information raised barriers to an exploration of all sides of the question of primates in research and animal rights. The Lawrence Jacobsen Library may not have been able to stop the destruction of this information, but book burning is book burning, and librarians must call attention to it wherever it occurs.

I am enclosing copies of letters to the Lawrence Jacobson Library, the University of Wisconsin’s General Library System, the University of Wisconsin’s School of Library and Information Studies, and to the ALA regarding this situation.

I hope the WLA will take strong action on this matter.


Rick Bogle

See too: 628 Pieces of Primate Research Garbage

One of the reasons I suspect involvement by the primate center library staff is the careful cataloging of video tapes by multiple researchers over the course of fifteen or so years. Here's the index to the tapes. Who else but a librarian would have done this? And, wouldn't the librarians at the primate center have been aware of this repository of visual records? If they had anything at all to do with the catalog or the organization of the data, then they violated a fundamental ethic of librarianship by not defending the public's right to receive information. They should have tried to stop its destruction at the very least. If they did nothing and/or remained silent, they should be disciplined by the library associations.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ebola Error in Wisconsin

The Sunshine Project
News Release
19 September 2007

Ebola Error in Wisconsin Shows Lax Federal Biodefense Oversight
Similar Violations May be Undetected Elsewhere

In 2005 and into the summer of 2006, researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison (UW) made and manipulated copies of the entire Ebola virus genome without proper safety precautions. Although federal safety rules required a maximum protection Biosafety Level Four (BSL-4) lab for the research, UW allowed it to proceed at the much less safe and secure BSL-3 level. The rules that UW broke are intended to ensure that agents that are easily transmissible and usually incurable don't escape maximum containment. They prohibit working at BSL-3 with Ebola (and similarly dangerous) virus material that has not been rendered irreversibly incapable of reproducing. UW does not have a BSL-4 lab suitable for handling Ebola virus, which is one of the most dangerous pathogens in the world.

Despite the contrary provisions of the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules, permission for UW scientist Yoshihiro Kawaoka to perform the Ebola genome work at BSL-3 was granted by the University of Wisconsin Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). This significant violation of NIH Guidelines was not detected in a timely manner by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or, apparently, by the CDC Select Agent Program staff that inspect the Kawaoka lab.

Ebola virus was first recognized in 1976 in Africa. It is one of the more dangerous pathogens on earth. It is transmitted from person to person and causes a deadly hemorrhagic fever. Most people who contract Ebola quickly die from the disease. Its gruesome progression has provided horrific grist for innumerable popular books and movies, such as "The Hot Zone". An Ebola outbreak currently underway in the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed an estimated 170 lives.

(A sources section a the bottom of this news release provides links to more information.)

KEEPING EBOLA IN THE BSL-4: The degree of danger posed by the work at UW, which involved manipulation of full-length Ebola cDNAs (see "The Science" below) is scientifically debatable. Some might argue the work was not terribly unsafe, because the Ebola constructs were not used together with two critical proteins whose presence would trigger growth of virulent virus. Others would argue that it was irresponsible to handle complete DNA copies of a virus as deadly as Ebola at less than BSL-4 when the copies were capable of producing virulent virus. From a security standpoint, it may also be argued that it is inadvisable to facilitate access to the Ebola virus by distributing the means to produce it (i.e. the cDNAs) to facilities other than BSL-4 labs, which are fewer and have the strongest security measures in place.

OVERSIGHT FAILURE: The research was not halted until Kawaoka remarkably repeatedly pushed for permission to lower it to biosafety level two (BSL-2), which is used for diseases that are comparatively mild and easy to treat. Kawaoka's persistence in requesting the even lower BSL-2 standard prompted a UW official to consult with the National Institutes of Health, whereupon it was determined that UW did not have appropriate facilities and should never have approved the studies at all.

But the organization that was funding the research, which explicitly included precisely the activity that violated NIH rules, was none other than NIH itself. "NIH disapproved its own project," says Sunshine Project Director Edward Hammond, "but it wasn't stopped because NIH's left hand knew what the right was doing, it was essentially by chance and long after the project started." Says Hammond, "After of years of studying NIH's toothless enforcement of its own Guidelines, it is dismaying but not surprising that NIH's biodefense program was funding work that violates NIH's safety rules. The Guidelines have been an unenforced afterthought for years."

There are several troubling questions that remain:

1) Why did the Madison IBC approve the project in the first place?

2) Why doesn't the National Institutes of Health Office of Biotechnology Activities, which is supposed to oversee this work, have a system in place that detects such violations, especially when NIH is funding the work?

3) Why did the Centers for Disease Control apparently fail to identify the problem? The Kawaoka lab handles select agents and is thus subject to registry and inspection by CDC. Is not an inadequate lab experimenting with the complete means to produce Ebola something that CDC's Select Agent Program should identify and act upon?

Says Hammond, "NIH's Office of Biotechnology Activities has no idea what's going on in the labs it allegedly oversees. It is well-established that there is practically zero oversight NIH under the NIH Guidelines and common knowledge that there is never any penalty for disobeying them."

CELEBRITY STANDARDS? The Kawaoka Lab is known for work on the bleeding edge of virology. It is a world of dangerous experiments with dangerous diseases, such as infecting monkeys with deadly agents. Daring lab workers frequently deal with diseases like 1918 influenza and - by protocol - preemptively pop Tamiflu like it was breath mint. Engineering controls clearly don't seem to themselves inspire complete confidence. It is doubtful that many other virologists would gain institutional approval for some of the lab's practices or, for that matter, would be willing to routinely subject themselves to some of the lab's risks.

The lab is well funded with biodefense grants and is at once admired and controversial. In late 2004, UW and the University of Pittsburgh got into an unseemly bidding war over the scientist, offering up tens of millions of dollars in salaries, labs, people, and other public resources in packages more reminiscent of a MTV pop music star's concert rider than a college professor's salary contract.

"Pecking order means a lot in biology, in Madison and elsewhere, and Kawaoka is a big bird," says Hammond. The Sunshine Project would like to know if celebrity status caused UW to disregard the NIH Guidelines and lower safety and security standards: "If it had wanted to, was the IBC even realistically able to veto Kawaoka's research plans after the University had spent millions to keep him, blowing cash and political capital all the way to the governor's office? That these imbalanced situations exist at all is one good reason to make IBC compliance a matter of law instead of guideline."

more ...

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Courageous Vivisector...

Believe it or not, this isn't from The Onion.

APS Member Joseph Kemnitz Receives Knox Award

Joseph Kemnitz receives the Knox award from Hannah Carey, Professor of Comparative Bioscience in the UW-School of Veterinary Medicine, and President of WABRE.

The Wisconsin Association for Biomedical Research and Education (WABRE) presented Joe Kemnitz, director of the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, with the Knox Courage Award January 19 at the Best Western Inntowner Hotel in Madison, WI. The award goes annually to a person in the state whom association members believe has consistently and proudly stood up for promoting the need for critical, humane biomedical research to the media, educators and the public.

A large turnout of Joe’s family, friends and colleagues joined WABRE directors and board members to present the surprise honor.
Knox Courage Award? What the heck?

Joe Kemnitz has repeatedly refused to participate in public debates and discussions about the use of monkeys in biomedical research. I think he's afraid to do so.

In 1999, he hid, literally, with his family inside the primate center when the 1999 Primate Freedom Tour stopped to protest at his lab.

In 2005, he stood behind his young child and peeked out the door at people protesting in front of his house.

The Knox Courage Award? What the heck?

Relatedly, about a year and a half ago, a friend tried to find the Wisconsin Association of Biomedical Research and Education's (WABRE) office. It turned out to be a private residence, and the residents seemed totally freaked out that someone had stopped by. The next day, their website was stripped of all content. This is the entire site as of 9-17-07:

Also, and no less surreal, the award presenter, Hannah Carey, Professor of Comparative Bioscience in the UW-School of Veterinary Medicine, and President of WABRE, isn't involved in biomedical research. Her lab's research is centered on the physiology of hibernating ground squirrels.

I wish she'd spend less time tormenting small animals and more time compiling a list of all the past recipients of the WABRE Knox Courage Award so we could see just what qualities are considered courageous by the vivisectors in Wisconsin.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Animal research debate set

From the September 13, 2007 Capital Times

Animal research debate set
9/13/2007 11:14 am

Should animals be used by UW-Madison researchers? Are they a reliable predictor of diseases and their cures for human beings?

Two highly respected experts on the subject will tackle that issue in a debate sponsored by The Capital Times at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, in the auditorium of the Wisconsin Historical Society building on the UW's Library Mall.

Ray Greek, a retired anesthesiologist, author of three books on the use of animals in human disease and drug research and president of Americans for Medical Advancement, insists that animal research is useless to predict human results.

He will square off with UW-Madison Prof. Eric Sandgren, an animal researcher and chair of two animal research oversight committees on campus, who argues that human medical advances have been made as a result of research using animals.

The debate is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Dave Zweifel, editor of The Capital Times, will moderate the debate. After presentations by the debaters, they will answer written questions from the audience.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

400 Isolated Monkeys

Solitary Confinement

On May 6, 2006, it was reported that the University of Wisconsin, Madison was refusing to state the number of individually housed monkeys on campus. Documents suggested that as many as 1000 monkeys, more than half the monkeys in UW Madison laboratories, were being caged individually. Requests for clarification were ignored.

Individual housing is an acknowledged cause of self-mutilation in rhesus macaque laboratory colonies. Individually housed monkeys display a host of abnormal behaviors such as repetitive pacing, flipping, and circling, or other behaviors like eye-poking, saluting, slapping, floating limbs (the failure to recognize a hand or foot as part of one's own body). Finger or penis sucking, eating or smearing feces, and excessive masturbation are other common responses to the loneliness of solitary confinement.

A recently acquired document suggests that a quarter of the monkeys at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center – nearly a third of the 1250 rhesus monkeys – are caged alone. Statistics suggest that at least 20 of these animals are wounding themselves severely and that very many others are suffering severe emotional wounds from being isolated.


Laboratory Primate Newsletter
Self-injurious Biting in Laboratory Animals: A Discussion

This discussion took place on the Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum [LAREF] e-mail list in January, 2004. The participants were Kate Baker, Tulane NPRC, Covington, Louisiana; Sonja Banjanin, University of Toronto, Canada; Jas Barley, Southampton General Hospital, England; Lorraine Bell, University of Colorado-Health Science Center, Denver; Ernie Davis, NIH Animal Center, Poolsville, Maryland; Joseph Garner, University of California, Davis; Ann Lablans, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada; Viktor Reinhardt, Animal Welfare Institute, Washington, D.C.; and Chris Sherwin, University of Bristol, England. Viktor Reinhardt, moderator of LAREF, edited the responses. [Reinhardt was previously a veterinarian at the Wisconsin Primate Research Center. PF]

Reinhardt: "Self-injurious biting is probably the most serious example of self-injurious behavior (SIB). It occurs primarily in singly-caged laboratory primates, about 10% of which are affected (Platt et al., 1996). Transferring the subject to compatible social housing is currently the most effective therapy for this pathology (Line et al., 1990; Reinhardt, 1999; Alexander & Fontenot, 2003).

"Self-injurious biting is occasionally also seen in socially housed primates. Do group/pair-housed animals show this behavioral pathology spontaneously or is it triggered by specific events? I remember two individually caged rhesus males who required surgical care of self-inflicted bite wounds on several occasions. After they were paired with compatible partners, the self-biting stopped, until the two 'had' to be separated for research reasons. Both inflicted serious injuries on themselves in the first hour of separation. Needless to say, they were released from the research protocols and reunited with their buddies. From then on, no more self-biting was observed."

Baker: "I have videotaped rhesus macaques and have the impression that self-injurious biting occurs more often in singly-housed than in socially-housed animals. Among pair-housed individuals, unfortunately, the primary trigger for self-injurious biting appears to be mildly aggressive behavior from cagemates who occasionally supplant or swat subordinate partners. In this context, self-biting does not result in visible injuries, so I accept it for the sake of keeping pairs together. Also, no telling how much worse it could get if such animals were transferred to single-housing. Pair-housed animals occasionally self-bite when one of the partners is removed for whatever reason. It is my experience that most animals can cope with that extremely disturbing situation, but a few cannot, and those need to be re-paired as quickly as possible."

Lablans: "We have a male rhesus who has always been paired but once in a while he will 'chase' and bite his own leg. He typically does that upon being returned to his cage after a short chair-restraint procedure."

Reinhardt: "Monkeys may look relaxed and 'okay' while being chaired, but this does not necessarily mean that the whole situation is not experienced as frustration, discomfort, or distress. Returning to the home cage may be such a relief for this male that he vents some of the built-up tension in a behavioral pathology that he developed for whatever reason when he was a kid. Do you know his rearing history?"

Lablans: "He came to us as a very unusual animal to begin with. When I released him from his cage to have the run of the room, he would come over and sit with me on the floor. This makes me believe he had more contact with humans than the average rhesus we receive here."

Reinhardt: "Perhaps he was a pet? There is a very interesting old article that describes self-injurious biting in such an individual (Tinklepaugh, 1928)."

Davis: "I have observed self-injurious biting in group-housed, nursery-reared rhesus. This behavior doesn't appear to be spontaneous within the social context, as often found in singly housed animals. It is usually elicited by some negative event or state of arousal during a stressful situation. However, there are exceptions. For example, I recently saw one animal bite himself while playing with companions. It appeared to be normal rough and tumble play, which he seemed to enjoy. Yet, he would bite one of his wrists and sometimes an ankle during these play bouts. This case, however, is probably not typical since the animal was nursery reared, which is likely to affect normal neurological development."

Garner: "Self-biting is a classical SIB that falls into two basic categories, stereotypical or impulsive/com-pulsive behaviors. Both are 'inappropriate' repetitive activities, which involve different areas of the brain, have different prognoses, and respond to different drugs. Movements are always oriented to the same target [e.g., eye-poking] in the case of stereotypies, while they have flexible goals in the case of impulsive/compulsive behaviors [e.g., hair-pulling-and-eating]. I wonder, under which category does the self-injurious biting of monkeys fall? What does this behavior actually look like?"

Reinhardt: "In my own experience with rhesus and stump-tailed macaques, self-biting occurs in the following two sequences of events and circumstances:

Subject is extremely bored, shows no signs of excitation but repeats over and over again the same movement patterns - for example circling, pacing or somersaulting - interjected by sham biting of specific body parts. This behavior often goes unnoticed because there is no visible abrasion/laceration, plus the subject usually doesn't show the behavior when there is a distraction, e.g., personnel entering the room.

Subject is extremely frustrated (high emotional arousal, e.g., shaking, intense staring, piloerection), e.g., when fear-inducing personnel approach the cage with the subject having no option of escape or attack. The animal predictably attacks specific sites of the body, for example always the right wrist or always the left upper thigh. This typically leads to noticeable abrasion over time - first local alopecia, followed by mild inflammation - but may also dramatically result in a serious laceration (Figure 1). Typically, an animal self-inflicts serious lacerations of the same body part several times on different occasions. This circumstance often necessitates amputation of the repeatedly injured and sutured limb."

Figure 1: Individually caged rhesus macaque with laceration on elbow resulting from self-injurious biting.

Baker: "In my institutions self-biting seems to be triggered more often when attending personnel leave rather than enter the room. For this reason I think a lot of thought needs to go into what kind of relationship is established between staff and an animal that self-bites in their presence. Perhaps we all have biases, but I like to believe that the visits, at least from enrichment personnel, are positive! If they aren't, I'm going home right now..."

Garner: "Behaviors that occur when you leave the room might have been suppressed by your presence. For instance if the animal sees you as an interesting and fun thing to interact with, it might suppress other behaviors, such as self-biting, in order to give you all his/her attention while you are there. Once you leave the room, the suppressed behavior will rebound.

"The impression that I get from the information shared on this forum is that primate self-biting behaviors are directed identically to one point on the body and therefore constitute stereoypical SIB."

Friday, September 7, 2007

Biocontainment update.

It's finally official; the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK was due to poor maintenance at the government operated Institute for Animal Health (IAH) at Pirbright in Surrey. IAH operated at the highest levels of biosecurity; disease escapes were essentially impossible, or, at least that's what University of Wisconsin, Madison spokespersons repeatedly told the public as they tried and failed to sell the idea of hosting Homeland Security's NBAF, another lab that will be working at the highest levels of biosecurity.

UK Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said, "There can be no excuse for the fact that foot and mouth escaped from the Pirbright facility. It should not be possible."

In other news concerning the risks of trusting "experts" in matters associated with infectious disease research and biocontainemt, the Sunshine Project has uncovered additional instances of the system's failure and the resultant risk to public health.

The people telling us that all is well, not to be alarmed, are the same ones telling us that the animals used in these labs are well cared for.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

EU to world: "The use of primates in experiments is not acceptable."

23.4.2007 0040/2007


pursuant to Rule 116 of the Rules of Procedure

by Jens Holm, Rebecca Harms, John Bowis, Martine Roure and Mojca DrĨar Murko

Written declaration on primates in scientific experiments

The European Parliament,
- having regard to Rule 116 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas more than 80% of respondents to the 2006 Commission’s public consultation on animals in experiments considered the use of primates in experiments as not acceptable,

B. whereas more than 10,000 primates are used in experiments every year in EU laboratories,

C. noting that almost all primate species share more than 90% of their DNA with humans and it is acknowledged that the primate species have a capacity to suffer greatly in captivity,

D. whereas 26% of primate species are in danger of extinction and wild-caught primates continue to be used in laboratories, in addition it may be difficult to protect primates from threats such as human consumption if it is perceived that these species are used freely by Western academic institutions,

E. whereas advanced technology and techniques now provide alternative methods that are proving to be more efficient and reliable than primate experiments, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), microdosing, computer modelling or tissue and cell culture,

F. noting that despite genetic similarities, there are important differences between humans and other primates, and primate experiments cannot match the precision of humanbased study,

1. Urges the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament to use the revision process of Directive 86/609/EC as an opportunity to:

(a) make ending the use of apes and wild-caught monkeys in scientific experiments an urgent priority,

(b) establish a timetable for replacing the use of all primates in scientific experiments with alternatives;

2. Instructs its President to forward this declaration, together with the names of the signatories, to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The end of primate research in Europe

Was there ever any doubt that on any matter of social progress that the U.S. would not be in the vanguard? September 7, 2007 is a red letter day for animals everywhere.

UK group achieves 393 MEP signatures to signal the end of primate research in Europe

Animal Defenders International's (ADI) campaign to end lab primates' misery has achieved a major victory today as 393 MEPs put their signatures to Written Declaration 40/2007 in the European Parliament - the requisite number needed to trigger its adoption and end primate testing in Europe.

The declaration, sponsored by UK MEP John Bowis, French MEP Martine Roure, Swedish MEP Jens Holm, German MEP Rebecca Harms and Slovenian MEP Mojca Drcar Murko, calls for a ban on the use of Great Apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, gorillas), and on the use of wild-caught primates, as well as a phase-out of all primate use in EU laboratories.

Jan Creamer, ADI chief executive said, "This marks a major victory not only for ADI but for all the primates who have been incarcerated in laboratories throughout Europe. Ahead of Thursday's deadline, our relentless campaigning has paid off and today we have achieved signatures of half of Europe's MEPs. This is history in the making and will end the suffering of some 10,000 primates a year in European labs and the adoption of more reliable modern alternatives."

Animal Defenders International
Millbank Tower
London, SW1P 4QP, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7630 3340
Fax: +44 (0)20 7828 2179