Belgium’s animal rights group GAIA is lobbying the three ministers in charge of animal welfare to ask that no more authorisations be granted for experiments on healthy dogs and cats that are knowingly made ill, it said in a communication published on Friday.
GAIA, which stands for Global Action in the Interest of Animals, describes itself as an organisation that “unites defenders of animal welfare and advocates for animal rights in Belgium.”
The association conducted a survey in 2019 on the use of laboratory animals in Belgium and estimates that 1,302 experiments were carried out on 542 dogs, all of the Beagle breed. The majority of these were in Flanders, with 1,286 experiments on 526 animals.
Last week they launched a satirical campaign calling for beagle owners to bring their dogs to laboratory testing centres to combat an urgent need for test animals, and today they’ve launched a new website focused on raising awareness of (and eventually ending) the use of animals as test subjects.
“In Europe, 22 million animals are used in scientific experiments each year,” the website says. “Belgium is among the top 5 European countries which perform the most painful tests on animals.”
GAIA argues that “the use of healthy dogs and cats, whether or not they have been bred specifically for use in research, should no longer be allowed for animal experimentation.”
An exception could be made for animal experiments for the benefit of the dogs or cats themselves, GAIA said.
“Only the use of dogs or cats already suffering from an incurable disease, with the specific aim of finding a cure or treatment for that particular disease, is acceptable,” said the association.
GAIA also points out that at the end of the research project, when the animals have become “unusable,” they should no longer be euthanised but put up for adoption.
The association suggests that a legislative framework be developed that includes criteria for deciding what to do with an animal at the end of a trial.
These recent awareness efforts come in advance of World Laboratory Animals Day, which is 24 April.
The Brussels Times