More than one million people have signed a petition which threatens to repeal European regulations for animal research. Dr Sherie Wright, Senior Corporate Governance and Policy Officer at the MRC, explains why animal research is so important, and why efforts to ban it in Europe could compromise both animal welfare and scientific research.
The ‘Stop Vivisection’ European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is founded on the erroneous belief that animal research is “useless for humans and exposes us to serious risks with regard to our future well-being”. It seeks to repeal the European Directive 2010/63/EU which regulates the use of animals (vertebrates and some others) in research in EU countries.
We understand why many people are uncomfortable with animal research. No one enjoys using animals, but it is far from useless. And while progress is being made towards developing non-animal research methods, it remains the best option we have in many areas of science.
We use animals because of their similarity to humans. The biology we share with vertebrates make them incredibly useful models for learning about biological processes.
Animal research has also led to significant advances in our understanding and treatment of both human and animal disease. The list of medical interventions made possible by animal research is long, from organ transplantation and the development of antibiotics, to anaesthetics and vaccines. Read more