Animal Aid

Momentum for Monkey Research Ban Builds

Posted 14 November 2006

On November 18th, supporters of Animal Aid will take to the streets in more than 30 towns and cities across the UK and ask members of the public to sign a petition to end the use of primates in experiments. The Day of Action for Primates has been called to support a Europe-wide campaign to free monkeys and great apes from all research and testing.

Around 10,000 primates are used in laboratories across Europe each year, with more than a third of them undergoing ‘procedures’ in Britain. Most are used for safety and toxicity testing of medicines by the pharmaceutical industry in order to gain regulatory approval. Toxicity testing is one of the cruellest of all animal procedures as it involves deliberate poisoning by overdose. Over a period of days, weeks or months, animals are dosed with drugs or chemicals by injection, inhalation or gavage (force feeding). Symptoms of drug poisoning may include retching and vomiting, uncontrollable diarrhoea, tremors, liver failure and death. Some of those who survive the experiments will be re-used but the majority are killed so that their body tissues can be studied.

Currently, the EU law that governs animal testing throughout Europe is being revised and campaigners across the continent have united in calling for a ban on the use of primates. Already, 150 British MPs have signed Early Day Motion 1704 calling for such a ban and there is widespread public support. A 2003 NOP poll commissioned by Animal Aid showed that a clear majority of the UK population opposed primate experiments.

In Europe, the political campaign is already underway. In September, MEPs tabled a Written Declaration calling for a change in the law ‘to prohibit chimpanzee experiments and the use of wild-caught primates in the EU and phase out all non-human primate experiments in the EU over the next 6 years.’

Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler, says:

‘Primates are our kin. Aside from the appalling cruelty meted out to these intelligent and sensitive beings, animal experiments are notoriously unreliable as predictors for human health. Experiments on primates led to the production of asthma drug, Isoprenaline, which caused the deaths of thousands of people but did not harm monkeys, and the recent ‘elephant man’ drug where six healthy human volunteers were given a monoclonal antibody previously tested on, and passed safe in, primates. The men suffered serious adverse reactions and were admitted to intensive care units with multiple organ failure.

‘State-of-the-art, non-animal technologies that are effective, safe and reliable already exist. We are heartened that members of the public and politicians right across Europe are looking to a future where no animal is made to suffer in painful and outdated laboratory tests.’

Notes to Editors

  • Street stalls will be set up in the following towns and cities: Aberystwyth, Banbury, Bangor, Barnet, Belfast, Bingham, Bridport, Brighton, Cambridge, Campbelltown, Coventry, Croydon, Durham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Lancaster, Leeds, Lichfield, Liverpool. London, Norwich, Scarborough, Sheffield, Stamford, Stockton-on-Tees, Stockport, Swindon, Taunton, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Walsall and Whitby. More towns are being added daily.
  • Campaigners in Croatia are also joining this Day of Action and will be leafleting in Zagreb.
  • For further information, read Animal Aid’s report, The case for an EU ban on primate experiments.
  • For more information, contact Andrew Tyler on 01732 364546. Out of hours 0791 8083 774.
  • ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.

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