Phasing out animal experiments discussed in the Swedish parliament
When the Swedish government's Research Bill was debated in Wednesday's parliamentary debate, two important issues were raised about animal experiments that Djurens Rätt previously had lobbied to members of the Swedish parliament. Both the fact that more money is needed for animal-free research and that Sweden needs to adopt an action plan on phasing out animal experiments was brought up in the debate.
The Research Bill is the government's proposal on the direction and budget for research in Sweden, and a new one is presented every four years. In the new bill, issues regarding animal experiments and investments in alternative methods have been given much more attention than in previous years research bills. Unfortunately, the funding for research on 3R (Replace, Reduce, Refine) has not increased in the new proposal, instead the level remains at 15 million swedish crowns (approx. 1,5 million euro) a year. A sum that Djurens Rätt believes needs to be increased tenfold as a minimum.
In the debate, several of the reasons for investing more money in alternative methods that Djurens Rätt regularly raises in contact with politicians were highlighted. The government was also criticized for not increasing funding for such research in the new proposal:
We know that animal-free methods are often cheaper, more efficient and safer for humans. Investments in research are therefore not a cost. It's an investment. [...] The 15 million that are possible to apply for do not go very far for the researchers who want to develop alternative methods. […] There must be an end to animal suffering in science, therefore, research methods must be developed. In this matter the government gets a rebuff.
- Ilona Szatmari Waldau (Vänsterpartiet, The Left Party)
The issue regarding action plans for phasing out animal testing was also mentioned in the debate. Djurens Rätt recently reported on the good news that the Swedish government has listened to our demands to phase out animal experiments and commissioned the Swedish Board of Agriculture's to identify what further means can be taken to limit the use of animals in science. In the parliamentary debate our interpretation of this new assignment as a step towards Sweden following the Netherlands' initiative and adopting an action plan for phasing out animal experiments, was now also confirmed:
The Swedish Board of Agriculture has now been commissioned in the letter of appropriation to survey measures to reduce the use of experimental animals. We need an action plan, that is clear, with time limits.
- Mats Berglund (Miljöpartiet, The Green Party)
Djurens Rätt is pleased that the animal experiment issues are given space in the parliamentary debate, that several Members of Parliament agree with Djurens Rätt that more money needs to be invested in alternative methods and also that, with the new assignment given to the Swedish Board of Agriculture in the letter of appropriation, things are now finally starting to change in the area of animals in science.
Djurens Rätt will follow the development closely and will work hard to ensure that it pays as good a dividend as possible for the animals.