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Post details: Let Europe hear your voice: time to write to your MEP

07/04/09

Permalink 10:47:28 pm, by Tom, 561 words, 2508 views   English (UK)
Categories: News

Let Europe hear your voice: time to write to your MEP

The European Union is in the process of updating the laws governing medical research using animals across the EU (Directive 86/609), a revision that is necessary because the regulations included in Directive 86/609 when it was adopted in 1986 have failed to keep pace with the rapid pace of scientific and technological change over the past two decades. For example they do not adequately address the use of transgenic animals that are so important to many fields of medical research today, but which were only just becoming available in 1986.
In November the EU Commission published its proposals for over 100 revisions to Directive 86/609, and while these included many welcome improvements there were also some proposals that would have harmed European science through bureaucratic overload and overly tight limits on research involving monkeys. Happily the EU Parliament's Agriculture committee subsequently suggested several changes to the revisions in its report that have reassured many in the scientific community about the possible impact of the new laws on medical research in Europe.

On the 4th-7th May the European Parliament in plenary session will consider revisions proposed by the Commission, the amendments proposed in the Agriculture Committee report and some or all of those proposed by the Industry and Research Committee, which was given associated committee status due to its role in developing science policy . More amendments can also be proposed, either by the EU parliamentary political groups or by the signature of any 37 MEPs, so it's likely to be a very lively debate.

Make no mistake about it, while this is by no means the final stage in the long EU legislative process it is the most crucial stage; the revisions that are agreed in the plenary session are likely to become law with at most minor changes. Until now the task of making the case for animal research has been left mainly to the scientists who can discuss the detail of their work with MEPs, and warn them of the detrimental effects that the more ill-conceived revisions might have. While their efforts have met with considerable success animal rights organizations will now be working overtime to undo these gains, and this is where you can make a difference.

MEPs need to hear your voice!

To help you to make your voice heard we have formed a partnership with Understanding Animal Research through their Remember the Patients campaign. We encourage you to write to your local MEPs and tell them why you think it is vital that the future of animal research in Europe is safeguarded, and how you or members of your family have benefited from medical advances made through animal research. Remember the Patients has information on how to find your local MEPs and suggestions about what you should say in your letter or e-mail.

Please take the time to write to your MEPs, this really is a once in a decade opportunity to help shape policy on animal research throughout the EU and ensure that Europe plays a leading role in the future of medicine.

Pro-Test

More information about the revisions to Directive 86/609 can be found on the European Coalition for Biomedical Research website.

Further information on the contribution of animal research to medical progress is available on AnimalResearch.info

A detailed explanation of why research using monkeys is still necessary has been published by the EU Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks

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