12 million laboratory animals will continue to undergo experiments in Europe

” Move along, there’s nothing to see ! In short, this is what the European Commission has just said to the 1.17 million citizens mobilized to abolish animal testing. For Christophe Marie, spokeswoman for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, “the arguments put forward by the Commission are not up to the citizen mobilization, it is an insult to democracy! From an ethical point of view, animal experimentation is indefensible, from a scientific point of view it is very questionable. We must today abolish this science without conscience, whether or not there are alternative methods.

In the document published today, the committee begins with an encouraging preamble: “The European Union attaches great importance to animal welfare (…) Animal testing should be phased out. This is the ultimate aim of EU legislation in this area … ” But concludes: “the Commission does not intend to submit a proposal to repeal Directive 2010/63 / EU (which regulates animal testing, ed); nor does it intend to suggest the adoption of a new legislative framework. “


It is committed to facilitating the regulatory approval of alternative methods, promises a conference in 2016 on “how to progress towards the goal of the gradual elimination of animal testing.” There will be new reports, consultations …

Meanwhile, in the basements of medical institutions, millions of animals – “sentient sentient beings” – will continue to suffer and die in silence. Because in men, we call it democracy.



Dogs, cats, horses, birds, primates … every year in Europe, 11.5 million animals are used as guinea pigs in laboratories. Today, part of the scientific community denounces this cruel practice and draws an overwhelming report. There are other methods to test research: biotechnologies more predictive for humans.

In October 2014, after seven months of infiltration at the laboratories of the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen, the animal welfare associations BUAV (England) and Soko Tierschutz (Germany) delivered these unsustainable images: rhesus macaques prostrated in their cage, their faces bloodied by trepanning, the skull surmounted by a titanium implant to access directly and permanently to their brains. We thought these horrible photos were out of date. But the report is there, nothing has changed. However, nothing is the same: the European Citizens Initiative (ECI), launched in 2013 to ask the European Commission to put an end to animal testing and to make the use of alternative methods more relevant to man, has collected more than 1.2 million signatures.

The Commission must publish its response in the coming weeks. “Animal experimentation is the prehistory of science,” explains Professor Claude Reiss. Former director of research at the CNRS, he co-founded the Antidote Europe committee. Objectives: to inform about the damage of animal experimentation on human health and the environment, and to promote alternative methods. He continues, “Using animals as biological models of the human being is nonsense. One species can not predict the effect of a substance or drug on another species: it is a law of biology. The chimpanzee, whose genome has 98.5% homology with that of humans, is insensitive to the AIDS virus. He is also little affected by the hepatitis B virus and dies of Ebola. A random pattern, then.


Other examples: parsley kills the parrot while it has anti-cancer properties for humans, paracetamol poisons the cat, etc. And the animals do not suffer from our lifestyles: smoking, alcohol … “As for the rat, used to evaluate a drug, he will never be a man of 70 kilos! Claude Reiss alert. The proof: the side effects of drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in France after heart attacks, cancer and cerebrovascular attacks. In 1997 we were talking about 18,000 deaths, more than traffic accidents! Today, Professor Bernard Bégaud, director of Inserm’s pharmaco-epidemiology unit at the University of Bordeaux, puts forward the range of 10,000 to 30,000 deaths. “I do not understand why no serious study has been conducted for nearly twenty years, he is surprised. I mentioned it in the report on monitoring and promoting the proper use of the drug, commissioned by Marisol Touraine, in 2013. I never had a return. “Joined by telephone, the Ministry of Health explains that” it is difficult to quantify “…

Experts from the Ministry of Research refused to meet us to discuss scientific tests on laboratory animals. So you have to go fishing for the documents. Thus, in the 7th report of the European Commission published on December 5, 2013, we learn that almost “11.5 million animals were used in 2011 for experimental and scientific purposes in Europe”. France, which provided data for 2010 – unlike other member countries – is among the champions with 2.2 million animals used. Of the 11.5 million animals, rodents and rabbits account for 80% of the total, mice 61%, followed by rats, 14%. Then come the cold-blooded animals (reptiles, amphibians, fish) 12.5%, the birds 5.9%. There are also horses, donkeys, pigs, goats, sheep and cattle, carnivores (which include cats and dogs) and “non-human” primates (since 1999, no great monkeys have been officially used in Europe). Noah’s ark failed in hell.

For what use? More than 60% of the animals have been used for research and development for human and veterinary medicine, for dentistry and in basic biology studies (ie research of how it works, without a pharmaceutical aim) ; 14%, for the production and quality control of the products and devices used; 8.75%, for toxicological and other safety assessments. “Cancers, diabetes, autism, Alzheimer’s, cystic fibrosis … where are the therapies due to laboratory animals? questions Professor Claude Reiss. The number of patients affected by these diseases has more than doubled in ten years. According to a 2002-2012 UK study on Alzheimer’s disease, 99.6% of the drugs tested on animals failed in humans. And, as a general rule, “even when animal studies suggest that treatment will be safe and effective, more than 80% of potential drugs fail when tested on people,” says US researcher Steve Perrin in a published article. in March 2014 by the scientific journal “Nature”.


So why persist? “Because that’s how we learned to do,” says a researcher. And you have to publish, otherwise you end up in the closet! So we choose a target animal to give the desired result. Witness, the controversy around rats researcher Gilles-Eric Séralini: they had developed huge tumors after ingestion of transgenic corn. Beyond the term GMO, which provoked fear, it was discovered that the selected species of rats was known to easily develop tumors. Admittedly, the effect of the ravages of GMOs was more effective medically. Today, animal reproduction of human pathologies is no longer morally acceptable, nor is it scientifically relevant. Animals are fed with food designed to develop the disease (worth seeing) or trangenic mutants are made. The mouse for example, this ancient laboratory guinea pig, has taken the gallon artificially. There is the obese mouse, the cancerous, the diabetic and even the supersouris (who does not speak yet!) To 16 000 euros, produced by the Clinical Institute of the mouse, near Strasbourg. “There are, however, more reliable and more predictive ethical means for humans,” says Arnaud Gavard, spokesperson for the Pro Anima Scientific Committee. Cultures of cells and human tissues, computer modeling … the palette is wide and in full development. “

Biophysicist Jean-François Narbonne and cell biologist Christophe Furger, supported by Pro Anima, have developed the Valitox program which can detect the acute toxicity of a substance without using laboratory animals. It is proven that this test is reliable at 82%, against 65% in mice. Valitox should therefore be included in the European Reach regulation, which plans to test 30 000 chemical substances already on the market by 2018 and to save 9 to 16 million animals.

“Substitutive methods are interesting,” concedes François Lachapelle, head of the office of animal testing at Inserm. Of the 13,000 researchers at Inserm, 3,000 use them as a complement to animal testing. But for fundamental research in particular, they will never replace a living, complete and autonomous organism. Researchers at the Harvard Wyss Institute, however, have created flea organs that are interrelated to imitate human physiology. The revolution will therefore come from new biomedical technologies. But will they be enough to change mentalities? “The laboratory animal is so entrenched in research that it is difficult to get rid of it,” says Christophe Marie, spokesperson for the Brigitte Bardot Foundation. We must go to the constraint. When in 2009 the cosmetics industry had no choice and had to stop torturing animals, it moved on. Scientists to find something else! “

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