Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Lab Animals Directive - a step back? (Deadline 7th September 2011)

Back in June a public consultation on how to implement a new EU Directive into UK law was announced.  The Directive has been introduced to bring current standards into line for lab animals including dogs, mice and rabbits across the European Union.  This could be a good thing for many of the EU member states but unfortunately the new Directive could threaten the standards for lab animals here in the UK.

The RSPCA has said "if the new Directive is implemented word for word into UK law, animals may undergo more suffering and pain, inhumane methods of killing may be allowed and many labs could go years without being inspected!"

Our government could quite easily choose to allow our current higher standards to stay as they are, however, the RSPCA believes they are cutting standards in order to reduce regulation.

We only have until 5th September to voice our opinions and to save our standards, please click here and enter your details to contact your government representative and let them know that you care.  This action will take more time than usual as a template letter has not been prepared by the RSPCA, a letter in your own words is the only way the Home Office will accept your response to the consultation.  

The RSPCA have listed points to include, and please feel free to make some changes to the letter below that I have sent:

I was dismayed to hear that you are seriously considering amending our current standards for lab animals to bring it into line with the new Directive put in place across the EU member states.  The new Directive is could threaten the standards we have worked so hard to achieve here in the UK.

If the Directive is implemented word for word into our law, it is a concern that animals may undergo more suffering and pain, inhumane methods of killing may be allowed and labs may not be inspected for years at a time.

I agree with everything listed on the RSPCA website about the new Directive including the following points:

1.      No reduction in the number of Home Office Inspectors or frequency of official inspections of establishments. A significant number of inspections must be unannounced.

2.      No lowering of existing housing and care standards for animals – where UK standards are higher than the Directive these must be kept.

3.      The current tasks and membership of local Ethics Committees (Ethical Review Process)   must remain. These committees should continue to review all projects locally as well as ensuring animal use and suffering is reduced and high standards of housing and care are maintained.

4.      Procedures that cause animals long-lasting severe pain, suffering or distress must never be allowed.

5.      Inhumane methods of killing must not be used.

6.      The use of great apes must never be allowed and there must be a robust system to critically scrutinise any use of primates.

7.      Experiments on birds and reptiles before they are hatched must continue to be regulated.

Thank you for taking the time to read my objections and I sincerely hope that you will consider the points I have made. 

Yours sincerely... 

PETA is also campaigning against the new Directive and have an action here which you can take, they have already prepared a letter for you if you don't have the time to write one from scratch. 

Please remember to tell your friends! 
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