———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Animal Aid
Date: Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 10:04 AM
Subject: Urgent call-to-action from Animal Aid
A critical vote on the future conduct of vivisection is imminent. Your help is needed now.
An absolutely vital vote on the future of vivisection is taking place this coming Tuesday, March 31. The vote relates to the new Directive that will govern how animal research is conducted across the European Union – the UK included – and will replace the current rules, which are 23 years old. Tuesday’s vote will be by the European parliament’s Agricultural Committee, which has the biggest say of all the parliament’s committees on how the new Directive will look.
On Tuesday, its members will be voting on a set of proposals produced by the committee’s ‘rapporteur’ – an English MEP called Neil Parish. Parish’s proposals have alarmed animal protection bodies throughout Europe for the way they would seriously weaken existing animal protection measures. They would, for example, permit animals to be subjected to ‘severe, prolonged suffering’. And, instead of providing additional protection for primates – which is what the European Commission has called for – he wants monkeys to be used for curiosity-driven research that, for example, involves the infliction of severe brain damage, the withholding of food and water, and holding brain-damaged animals in restraint chairs, while they are forced to press icons on a computer screen over and over again.
Please send an email TODAY or TOMORROW to the eight UK members of the Agricultural Committee. Their addresses are as follows:
* jim.allister [at] europarl.europa.eu
* james.nicholson [at] europarl.europa.eu
* neil.parish [at] europarl.europa.eu
* brian.simpson [at] europarl.europa.eu
* alyn.smith [at] europarl.europa.eu
* struan.stevenson [at] europarl.europa.eu
* robert.sturdy [at] europarl.europa.eu
* jeffrey.titford [at] europarl.europa.eu
Some key points to stress are:
1. You are alarmed by attempts to weaken animal protection measures that the European Commission wishes to see introduced.
2. The Commission wants to phase out the use of wild-caught primates. Amendments that conflict with this goal must be opposed. Despite scaremongering by pro-animal research industry groups, there is no evidence that such a phase-out would damage medical research.
3. You oppose proposals that would allow any animal to be subjected to ‘prolonged, severe’ suffering.
4. Reducing animal use will improve the quality of science, as well as preventing animal suffering. This will make European laboratories attractive to business and academic researchers rather than – as has been threatened – lead to an exodus to parts of the world where standards are lower.
5. It is vital that all proposed ‘projects’ using animals are scrutinised rather than being given automatic approval. The Committee is faced with proposals that would allow most research projects to go through on the nod.
6. You support measures that call for regular thematic reviews of specific areas of animal use and replacement by non-animal systems. Without such a systematic approach, the introduction of non-animal methods will be an unnecessarily protracted process.
7. Increased accountability, transparency and access to information – as well as data sharing to avoid duplication of experiments – are all vital.
8. You urge Committee members not to bow to the powerful, self-interested biomedical lobby. They should vote instead for measures that increase animal welfare and which tackle unjustified secrecy and concealment.