Sunday, November 09, 2008

European Commission calls for greater ban on primate testing

The proposal, announced this past week, would "ban laboratory tests on mankind's closest relatives -- chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans -- in a clampdown on animal testing by the drugs industry and other researchers."

Sounds like a terrific step forward, yes. Although as advocacy groups noted, great apes haven't been used in EU research in six years so perhaps this is more of a token gesture than any real progress. Moreover, monkeys and other animals would not be covered by the ban. The plan also calls for tighter welfare standards, although it was not entirely clear (at least to me), whether any improvements applied only to primates or to all animals used in research. Overwhelmingly, most animal testing is done on rats and mice.

As you can imagine, the announcement generated media attention all over the world, especially in Europe. Here's a sampling of the stories from Reuters (via, Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Hindu News Update Service, and China News. Predictably, the announcement is also generating passionate debate both for and against the ban (as well as - also predictably - animal testing in general).

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