animal protection

/Tag:animal protection

Editorial: Where to draw the line? Should the age of protection for zebrafish be lowered?

Lynne U. Sneddon

Zebrafish are not protected by legislation in many countries until they reach the first feed stage, typically at five days post-fertilisation. If they exhibit similar responses to adults when responding to pain and other stimuli should they be given more protection?
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Ten years of REACH — An animal protection perspective

Katy Taylor

It has now been 11 years since the EU’s new chemicals legislation (Regulation No. 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals [REACH]) came into force. Two important statements in the REACH Regulation in relation to animal testing and alternatives are: Article 1(1), which states that one of its purposes is to promote alternative methods; and Article 25(1), which states that animal testing should be used as a last resort. This review looks at the mechanisms that were put in place within REACH to achieve these aims and asks, not only if they are being implemented properly, but also if they have been sufficient. Whilst the chemical industry has heavily used data-sharing and read-across, this review concludes that nevertheless over 2.2 million animals have already been used in new tests for REACH registrations. This equates to an annual average of 275,000 animals; 58,000 more per year than the best-case estimate made by the European Commission in 2004. The use of in vitro and (Q)SAR approaches as standalone replacements for animal tests has been relatively low. The levels of funding for research into alternative methods remain low, and there are concerns over the speed of formal adoption of those that have been validated. In addition, there have been issues with the recognition that testing as a last resort and the promotion of alternative methods applies to all parties, including the Commission, Member States and the agency responsible, the European Chemicals Agency. This review provides ten recommendations for better implementation of these two key aspirations, as well as lessons to be learned for future similar legislation.

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How Long Must They Suffer? Success and Failure of our Efforts to End the Animal Tragedy in Laboratories

Roman Kolar

Scientific findings have revealed how much we have dramatically underestimated the intellectual, social and emotional capabilities of non-human animals, including their levels of self-consciousness and ability to suffer from psychological stress. In the 21st century, the field of animal ethics has evolved as a serious scientific discipline, and nowadays largely advocates that the way we treat animals, both legally and in practice, is morally wrong. Politics and legislation have reacted to these facts, to some extent, but neither current legislation nor current practice reflect the scientific and moral state-of-the-art. Too often, the will to change things is watered down in the decision-making process, e.g. in the drafting of legislation. In the field of animal experimentation there have been many genuine efforts by various players, to advance and apply the principles behind the Three Rs. However, the fundamental problem, i.e. the overall number of animals sacrificed for scientific purposes, has increased. Clearly, if we are serious about our will to regard animal experimentation as an ethical and societal problem, we have to put much more emphasis on addressing the question of how to avoid the use of animals in science. To achieve this goal, certain issues need to be considered: a) the present system of ethical evaluation of animal experiments, including testing for regulatory purposes, needs to be reformed and applied effectively to meet the legal and moral requirements; b) animal testing must be avoided in future legislation, and existing legislation has to be revised in that regard; c) resources from animal-based research have to re-allocated toward alternatives; and d) the academic curricula must be reformed to foster and integrate ethical and animal welfare issues.
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ECVAM: Desperately Needed or Superfluous? An Animal Welfare Perspective

Roman Kolar

Eurogroup for Animal Welfare is the umbrella organisation of the major animal welfare organisations in Europe. Whereas its long-term goal is the complete replacement of animal experiments by methods that do not involve pain, suffering or distress in animals, it is also committed to any reasonable effort to reduce and refine animal experiments, as long as they continue to be carried out. Eurogroup therefore supports the activities of ECVAM, and it acknowledges the contributions to animal protection in various areas of animal use for scientific purposes made by ECVAM to date. Eurogroup is not satisfied with the number of alternative methods accepted in the past, but it sees the main responsibility for the slow progress as being outside ECVAM. The insufficient involvement of ECVAM by the EU Commission in various issues that would require its competence is also a matter of concern to Eurogroup.
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