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where are the alternatives to animal testing? – Insurance for Pets

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In Mauritius where « Special Envoy » investigated, macaques are bred in specialized sites or captured in the forest to serve as guinea pigs in European scientific research laboratories. Is this sacrifice and the suffering that awaits it really necessary?

Each year, 4,000 primates are used in French laboratories for scientific purposes. Among them, a large number of long-tailed macaques. They share 90% to 94% of our DNA, which makes them particularly interesting for biomedical research. Most are imported from Mauritius, France’s number one supplier. « Special Envoy » partly filmed a report there to see on June 8, 2023.

These monkeys, for the most part, spend most of their lives in a 2 square meter cage. A life made up of suffering, caused by the manipulations they undergo, particularly in the field of neurological research. We can, for example, inject them with Parkinson’s disease before removing their brain in order to study it, or even place a cranial implant in them to test their reflexes, as shown by images shot with a hidden camera in a German laboratory a few years ago. years.

These practices, common in Europe, are denounced by NGOs such as One Voice as « barbarism of the past century » : “It is not because in 1960 or 1970, we made discoveries by martyring macaques that it must justify that in 2023, we continue”, indignant Muriel Arnal, president and founder of the association. Regularly, like last April 24 on the occasion of the World Day of Animals in Laboratories, actions are organized to raise public awareness. Among the demands of the activists, the increase of the budget devoted to the search for alternatives to animal experimentation. France is indeed one of the European countries which invests the least in the development of these new approaches.

Is biomedical research without animals possible?

However, there are laboratories that no longer use animal experimentation, such as the cancer center of the Gustave-Roussy hospital, in the Paris suburbs. Instead of implanting tumors taken from patients in animals to test treatments, Fanny Jaulin’s team now clones these tumors, which produce « mini-cancers » called organoids. These tumor avatars represent a scientific avenue full of promise but, in the current state of knowledge, they do not make it possible to replace animals in all areas of research, regrets the researcher.

According to an Ipsos poll published in April 2023, 74% of French people would be opposed to animal experimentation. In 2021, the European Union is committed to strengthening legislation and improving the living conditions of animals used in laboratories. The ultimate goal is to dispense with animal testing without compromising scientific advances.

Extract from « Research: the sacrifice of the monkeys », a report to see in « The Special Envoy » on June 8, 2023.

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