Wednesday 1 September 2010

European bishops express renewed concern about directive on protection of animals

COMECE, the Catholic bishops' conference for Europe has spoken out again about the dangers for human embryos of a draft European directive on the protection of animals.

A draft directive on animal experimentation will be debated during the European Parliament’s plenary session on 7 September. If approved, the draft will become European Union (EU) law. The directive could result in scientists experimenting on human embryos instead of animals. Of particular concern is article 4 paragraph 1 of the draft directive. This article calls for member states to use alternatives to animal testing when avaliable. This could be interpreted to mean using human embryos instead of animals.

On 12 August, SPUC issued an international newsletter on this matter, available in 5 languages. A summary and links to the newsletter are avaliable from my previous blogpost of 12 August. Well over a thousand pro-life partners have received this newsletter through the post, as we work towards greater and more effective pro-life action at the European level.

Full details about this issue are available in the newsletter, and the SPUC website here. We have also produced an in-depth briefing on this issue, also on our website here.

COMECE, the Catholic bishops conference for Europe, has issued two press releases about animal experimentation and the threat to human life. The first, released on 6 June, can be read here. This press release also expresses concern about article 4 paragraph 1, and reminds us of the fundamental dignity of human life. The second press release, published yesterday, expresses renewed concern about this draft directive. The COMECE press release draws our attention to the Alternative Testing Strategies - Progress Report 2009, of the European Commission. This report suggests five alternatives to animal testing, each involving the experimentation upon and destruction of human embryos.

Pleasecontact the members of the European Parliament (MEPs) representing your area and tell them that:
  • you are concerned about the draft directive entitled “The protection of animals used for scientific purposes” presented by Elizabeth Jeggle (Germany)
  • the directive will be debated during the European Parliament’s plenary session on 7 September 2010
  • the directive would require European Union (EU) member-states to “ensure that, wherever possible, a scientifically satisfactory method or testing strategy, not entailing the use of live animals, shall be used instead of a procedure.” (art. 4, para. 1)
  • this article could result in scientists experimenting on human embryos instead of animals
  • you object to experimentation on human embryos, as human embryos have a right to life and to dignity equal to all other members of the human family
  • you want them to vote for four amendments which would protect human embryos and foetal tissue from being used as alternatives to animal testing (amendments 175, 176, 227 and 228

Please also contact animal rights organisations in your country, explaining to them why these amendments should be passed.

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