Sweden bans experiments on great apes and gibbons


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Press release text provided by Animal Rights Sweden;
additional comments by
Thomas Geissmann, Gibbon Research Lab., Zürich

April 2003

According to a press release from Animal Rights Sweden (see original text below), Sweden's Board of Agriculture and National Board for Laboratory Animals has recently issued new regulations banning experimental research on great apes and gibbons. According to the press release, Swedish researchers will still be permitted to use apes in non-invasive behavioral studies.

Because no experimental research on apes is currently being conducted in Sweden, the ban may not have any noticeable effects. According to Per-Anders Svärd of Animal Rights Sweden, however, the ban is considered to be of great importance, as it represents a first step towards the recognition of the moral and legal rights of animals suffering in experiments. Effective in June, the new legislation marks an ideological victory for the animal rights organization.

Similar regulations outlawing experimental reseaarch on apes already exist in Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

The legitimacy of using other animals stands unchallenged. This author finds it positively surprising, however, that - for once - gibbons are actually recognised as being apes and are included in the new regulation.

Sweden bans experiments on Great Apes. Press Release, Animal Rights Sweden, April 10, 2003.

Sweden Bans Experiments on Great Apes

Press Release, Animal Rights Sweden, 10 April 2003

Sweden's Board of Agriculture together with Sweden's National Board for Laboratory Animals recently decided on new regulations for using animals in research. One of the most important changes is that great apes and nine species of Gibbon apes will be exempt from use in experiments from June this year. Only non-invasive behavioural studies of these animals will be allowed in the future.

"No great apes or gibbon apes are currently used in experiments in Sweden, but the ban is still a matter of great ideological importance," says Per-Anders Svärd, Campaign Manager at Animal Rights Sweden, the country's largest animal rights organization. "The decision marks an important shift in official policy, since it implicitly recognizes the individual moral worth of primates. Hopefully, the ban can be seen as a first step towards extending moral and legal rights to millions of other animals suffering in experiments."

Animal rights organizations all over the world have been campaigning to end primate experiments for several years. The Swedish ban will undoubtedly generate hope and enthusiasm within the international community of activists struggling to end primate experimentation in their respective countries.

"By raising public awareness through persistent campaigns, activists have been able to push back long-standing prejudice surrounding the moral standing of primates. There are no excuses for using primates in experiments, and this is finally beginning to sink in - even at the level of policy-making," concludes Per-Anders Svärd.

For more information, please contact:

Per-Anders Svärd
Animal Experimentation Campaign Manager
Förbundet djurens rätt / Animal Rights Sweden
Box 2005
125 02 Älvsjö
Phone: +46 8 555 914 03
Fax: +46 555 914 50
Mobile: +46 733 32 39 44
E-mail: per-anders.svard@djurensratt.org


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