MPs debate test animal use, euthanasia
The cabinet is sharpening the rules around the use of test animals in the Netherlands, the AD reports. Researchers are no longer allowed to distinguish animals from each other by cutting off toes. The steadily rising unnecessary deaths of test animals will also be stopped. Dutch researches use about 600,000 test animals per year at universities and companies. Still half a million animals more are being bred too often, and have to be put down.
These figures have been rising explosively, and this should be stopped, according to state secretary Sharon Dijksma (Economic Affairs, PvdA). To push back the amount of test animals, their breeders must adhere to strict regulations. The Central Commission for Animal Tests (CCD) will decide if everything is being done to determine the numbers of test animals. The CCD will also control if the animals are really necessary to the research, and aren't suffering too much. To improve the lives of mice, rats and fish, the most-often used test animals, Dijksma is proposing a toe-clipping ban. Researchers are now removing a toe in the first week of the animal's life. Lab mice are easily distinguishable this way. This has to be stopped in the future. The cabinet emphasizes that animal testing cannot be banned for now, also not on dogs and cats, for example. "For now, adequate health care can't go without these animal testings" Dijksma writes in a letter to the House of Parliament today. She does use the "no, unless-principle". "I want as little animal testing as possible, and where they are unavoidable, there should be optimal refinement, replacement and reduction." The plans aren't going as quickly as the Party for Animals and animal organizations would want. The Foundation Test Animal Free and the Anti-Animal Testing Coalition (ADC) have been fighting for years to end animal testing. The last ten years has seen little reduction in animal testing. At academic hospitals, it is only rising. The number of redundant animals has risen by 100,000 in the last five years. The ministry of Economic Affairs is working together with ape foundation Stichting Aap and Animal Protection on an adoption plan for ex-test animals. "We have to look at possibilities for adoption by individuals, zoos and companies," Dijksma writes.