via SBS World News:
After two years of heated debate on how to protect animal welfare without scuppering scientific research, the European Parliament agreed to reduce the number of animal tests in Europe and enforce stricter rules for animals used in research.
Under the new legislation, experiments on great apes such as chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans are to be banned and “strict” restrictions set on the use of primates in general.
Good. There are also tighter restrictions on painful experimentation on all animals under the new legislation, and more rigorous licensing procedures for the breeding of laboratory animals.
There have, however, been objections from Greens and other progressive MEPs that the new regulations do not go far enough, because other animals will still be painfully tested. They have a point. There are 12 million laboratory animals used in experimentation annually in the EU, and this legislation will still leave millions of those experiments able to go forward.
These aren’t just ethical questions, there are also scientific questions about the reliability of animal tests, at least regarding the level of primacy they hold in the standard assessment process for new therapeutic regimes. Why torture animals unless it’s absolutely necessary, which in many cases it appears not to be?