Smith Gives Thumbs Up To Animal Experimentation Vote

31 March 2009
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee has today (Tuesday) give his backing to a report approved today by the Committee by some 19 votes to 7 to regulate the use of animals for scientific purposes across the EU. Smith voted for the report.

The Parish report, named after Committee President Neil Parish, was approved after the committee voted on some 500 amendments, with Smith seeing most of the amendments he put forward successfully passed. The Report now moves onto a vote of the plenary session of Parliament where different groups will be able to bring forward further amendments, whereupon it will become law and create a new regulatory structure across the EU for the use of animals in science.

While the full assessment of the vote is still underway, Smith has release details of amendments he put down which were successful which most importantly stressed that the principle of "Reduction, Refinement and Replacement" of animal tests with other non-animal methods should be a cornerstone of EU policy, as well as that Member States should each nominate a national centre responsible for promoting the use of non-animal alternatives to the scientific community.

Speaking after the vote Alyn Smith said:

"This was an important, and emotive vote in the Committee today, but I think we have struck the right balance. I have had upwards of 2000 emails and letters on this subject, and have spent a lot of time meeting with community groups, animal welfare lobbyists, scientists and citizens, and am clear in my own mind that we all want to see an end to animal experimentation, the question is when and whether the alternatives available will sufficiently allow science to progress.

"To my mind, animals are, regrettably, necessary in some cases, and while I am pleased to see tougher standards brought in I am against, and voted against, an outright ban because I believe this would hamper science and the fight against human and animal disease.

"I am of the view that the Committee today got it more or less right, though we will continue to analyse the report as we reconstruct it after 500 or so amendments and I am quite sure this will be a contentious debate in plenary."