• 23/02/2016: Mark Pearson gives notice of Animal Justice Party’s next bill, the Animal Research Amendment (Primates) Bill

    It was another historic day on Tuesday the 23rd of February 2016, the first sitting day back for the Legislative Council of NSW saw animals enter the mix of cross party politics. Mark Pearson of the Animal Justice Party gave notice of his next bill which seeks to bring an end to animal research to be carried out on primates in the name of science.

    The Animal Research Amendment (Primates) Bill will amend the Animal Research Act 1985 to prohibit the use, keeping or supplying of primates in carrying out animal research. It will prohibit the use, supply or keeping of primates in connection with animal research and will make it illegal for a person (including an accredited research establishment, a holder of an animal research authority or a licensed animal supplier) to use, keep or supply a primate in connection with animal research.

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    Primates are virtually the only animals taken from the wild in large numbers for bio-medical research. Even though breeding colonies exist, it is still estimated that over 1,000,000 primates are taken every year from the wild, with over two thirds being used for bio-medical research. The NSW Sydney facility at Wallacia breeds primates in captive colonies for research.

    A great ape research ban, or severe restrictions on the use of great apes in research, is currently in place in the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany and Austria. These countries have ruled that chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans are cognitively so similar to humans that using them as test subjects is unethical. Austria is the only country in the world where experiments on lesser apes, the gibbons, are completely banned too.

    The use of animals for research and testing is totally unacceptable, inaccurate and outdated. Instead, Australian researchers should be using non-animal research methods which have been proved to be more accurate and of greater relevance, producing improved results faster. In 2013 Humane Research Australia commissioned a Nexus Research Poll which revealed that most Australians (60%) are opposed to the use of primates in research.

    Bio-medical and pharmaceutical research claims the lives of an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 non-human primates worldwide each year, fueling the primate trade to meet demand. Despite this, strong evidence suggests that research using animal models provides unreliable results. Increasing numbers of scientists and clinicians are challenging animal experimentation on medical and scientific grounds.

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