EU bans the use of great apes in research

September 21, 2010 • Posted in

On September 8, 2010 a ban on the use of great apes in research in the European Union (EU) was made official under the newly adopted revisions for European Directive 86/609/EEC, the EU’s laboratory animal welfare laws. Under the new legislation, experiments on great apes are to be banned and

“only when survival of the species itself is at stake, or in the case of an unexpected outbreak of a life-threatening or debilitating disease in human beings, can a Member State exceptionally be granted permission for their use” (1).

Experiments on other nonhuman primates however will continue. Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Animal Welfare and Scotland’s senior European MP David Martin stated,

“…. What we must move towards are clear restrictions on the use of [all] non-human primates, a ban on the use of wild-caught animals, an unequivocal obligation to use non-animal alternative methods when scientifically available, and a ban on experiments which involve severe and prolonged suffering — today’s ruling fell woefully below this” (2).

The new Directive will not go into effect until January 2013, giving the EU member states two years to transpose the provisions of the new Directive into national legislation.


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