Sunday 04 December 2022

Animal testing only if no alternative, minister says in new plan

Testing drugs and chemicals should only be allowed on animals if there is no viable alternative, junior economic affairs minister Sharon Dijksma says in a new policy document presented to parliament on Friday.

New technology makes much animal testing unnecessary and it should be phased out as much as possible, the minister says in her statement.

In addition, practices which cause pain to animals, such as cutting off a toe from newly-born mice for identification purposes, should be phased out, she said.

Surplus

Breeding genetically manipulated animals has led to a surplus and this should also be tackled, the minister says.

The animals are raised for experimentation but never used. In 2012, nearly 525,000 animals – mainly mice and fish – were surplus to testing requirements.

Nearly 590,000 animals were used for experimentation in relation to human health last year.

Licences

The new legislation will require breeding programmes using genetically manipulated animals to be licenced.

Dijksma has also asked the Dutch Academy of Sciences to come up with recommendations for reducing the use of primates like chimps in animal testing.

Talks are also underway with animal rights groups to work out ways to take better care of animals which are no longer being used for testing.

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