12/11/06 Act Now to Replace Animal Experiments!

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Animal Friends invites Croatian public to sign an European petition

Animal Friends and animal protection and rights groups across Europe have united to launch a petition calling on the European Union to increase action to replace animal experiments with non-animal techniques. The petition has been launched in response to the upcoming revision of Directive 86/609/EEC, Europe's 20 year old legislation governing animal experiments. Signatures are being collected in 11 European languages, making this one of the biggest pan-European petition launches of its kind.

The European Commission has recognised that the Directive is now desperately out of date. Currently, Directive 86/609 misses out large areas of laboratory animal use, meaning pan-European efforts to replace animal experiments have tended to overlook some of the most significant opportunities in non-animal replacement such as basic research (including much medical research). Animal groups are now urging the European Union to use the revision as a spring board for massively increasing efforts to replace animal experiments with more humane and scientifically relevant non-animal techniques.

In addition, a recent Commission "Action Plan" on animal welfare specifies that "The final aim is to replace animal experiments with methods not entailing the use of an animal…" However, animal groups warn that this aim is unlikely to be achieved if European institutions do not coordinate efforts to prioritise non-animal replacements.

Wendy Higgins, Communications Director, the Dr Hadwen Trust, says: "There's unlikely to be a better moment than this for the European Union to really commit to meaningful action to replace animal experiments. It would be disastrous if we let it slip through our fingers. The revision of the EU’s animal research legislation and the Commission's animal welfare action plan, offer an unprecedented opportunity for change. European legislators have it in their power to put non-animal replacements at the heart of Europe's research agenda."

The petition has been launched by the Dr Hadwen Trust, Europe's leading non-animal medical research charity, and is being supported by leading animal advocacy groups in countries across Europe including Sweden, Norway, Finland, UK, Portugal, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Croatia.

The Commission itself recognises that non-animal techniques can be faster and more cost-effective than animal research. They are also more ethical and scientifically reliable so this petition calls on the European Union to do everything in its power to make the future of cruelty-free science a reality we can all start benefiting from.

Animal Friends invite everyone to sing a petition on the Animal Friends' web page, whilst the petition will be also signed on our info stall on December 23, 2006, on the corner of Varsavska ulica and Petar Preradovic Square in Zagreb.



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