The League of European Research Universities reiterates earlier criticisms of this initiative. The HE-institutions ask the European Parliament and Commission to take a broader view. “The consequences for human and animal health and high-quality research, if this ECI were to go ahead, are simply devastating,” LERU secretary general Prof. Kurt Deketelaere says.
His organisation notices that “supported by an array of flawed arguments, this ECI has a clear objective: to get rid of the European Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (Directive 2010/63/EU) and to ban all research using animals.”
Not only human medicine
“If that were to happen, current research using animals for the understanding and treatment of human diseases such as cancer, heart failure or Alzheimer´s would be banned. Not only human, but also veterinary medicine would be seriously hampered. Medicines and vaccines for pets and livestock are often developed from those for humans. Even more harmful, annulling the Directive would effectively put Europe out of business in the fierce global competition for talent. Scientific and medical researchers would be forced to find new places where they can undertake their research.”
LERU now fears that “the European Citizens´ Initiative, which was aimed at becoming one of the most advanced tools of participatory democracy, might now turn into a hindrance to society and some of its very basic values: health and research. It is important to know that the European Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes represents a very advanced framework with regard to animal welfare standards, firmly anchoring the principles of the 3Rs (“Reduction, Refinement and Replacement” of animals used for scientific purposes). It holds research with animals to the highest ethical standards.”
“If changes to the Directive were deemed necessary, the review process should follow the legislative review process, as foreseen by the Directive itself. On 11 May, the European Parliament is holding a public hearing on the ECI “Stop Vivisection”. LERU -together with more than 140 leading biomedical research organisations, learned societies, industry representatives, universities and patient groups in Europe- has signed up to the Wellcome Trust´s joint statement supporting European Directive 2010/63/EU and calling on the European Parliament to oppose the Stop Vivisection ECI.”
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