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08/09/10

Permalink 05:11:44 pm, by Tom, 307 words, 2502 views   English (UK)
Categories: News

EU Parliament approves new directive on animal research

Back in June we reported on the progress of the new European Union (EU) directive on the use of animals in research. Representatives of the EU Commission, Council, and Parliament had agreed on the text of the new directive, and it just awaited a final vote by the EU Parliament before becoming law.

As our colleagues at Understanding Animal Research have reported MEPs voted this morning to approve the directive. At this stage the text can no longer be ammended, and will become law as soon as it is formally signed and published by the EU Council. It will be then be the duty of the member state governments to transpose the new directive into national law.

The directive approved today represents a huge improvement on the early draft that was proposed back in 2008, and much of the credit for that improvement must go to EU scientists who took such an active part in the debates, discussions and consultations that were part of this process. Without this crucial intervention by thousands of scientists we could have been looking at a very different directive today, one very likely to be harmful to European science. Instead, we now have a directive that strike an excellent balance between ensuring good animal welfare standards and facilitating excellence in scientific research.

At this time of grave concerns about the effects of cuts in government funding of science the new EU directive is a welcome reminder of what the scientific community can achieve when it pulls together.

Addendum: Some news just in, four more animal rights extremists affiliated with the group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to blackmail. Let's hope that they receive sentences that will serve as a warning and deterrent to other activists who may be tempted to cross the line between legitimate protest and extremism.

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