Nobel laureates defend EU animal research rules against citizens proposal

first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Sixteen Nobel laureates have added their voices to a chorus of 149 science organizations defending existing E.U.-wide rules for animal research. In an open letter published on Friday, the group warns that repealing the current rules, as a citizens’ initiative has proposed, would harm biomedical research in Europe.More than 1 million citizens from 26 countries have formally urged the European Commission to scrap a 2010 directive that regulates the use of animals in scientific research. The Stop Vivisection European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), submitted to the commission in March, calls for a “paradigm shift in the way biomedical and toxicological research are being conducted.” The proponents want the commission to put forward a fresh proposal phasing out animal testing in favor of “more accurate, reliable, human-relevant methods.”The commission must now consider turning the proposal into legislation; it has until early June to respond. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) In an open letter published yesterday in The Times and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Nobel Prize winners call on the commission to ignore the plea. They say the directive was “carefully considered” and that repealing it would “represent a significant step backwards” both for animal welfare and for European research. “We do not wish for animals to be involved in research forever, and the research community is committed to finding alternative models. However, we are not there yet,” write the signatories.The letter was issued just days before the Initiative’s proponents speak at the European Parliament. One of the signatories, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, will also speak at the public hearing in Brussels on Monday.Stop Vivisection is the third ECI to reach this stage since this tool for direct democracy was introduced 3 years ago. The commission has rejected the previous two (including last year’s plea to stop using E.U. funding for stem cell research), much to the frustration of citizens’ groups, which also complain that the procedures are restrictive and cumbersome. “The pressure [on the commission to take action] is bigger compared to previous initiatives,” says Carsten Berg, coordinator of the ECI Campaign, a group that lobbies to reform the tool.However, experts say the commission is unlikely to scrap legislation adopted after lengthy negotiations, which would mean reverting back to rules from 1986. “Europe has been in the lead of replacing animal experiments for decades,” and although its implementation could go further, the directive has been an important part of raising standards, says Thomas Hartung, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing in Baltimore, Maryland. “A lot of this [discussion] is about enforcing the directive credibly, not just about getting rid of it,” he adds.Even if it doesn’t get the directive scrapped, Hartung says, the ECI has succeeded in prompting a conversation. “A large part of society wants us [scientists] to be extremely careful when using such precious resources,” he says. “Researchers cannot just handle this among themselves.”center_img Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwelast_img

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Nobel laureates defend EU animal research rules against citizens proposal