Troy Seidle, the director of research & toxicology for Humane Society International, issued a statement in response to the current debate regarding the import of animals to the UK for medical research:
"There are legitimate concerns about the suffering of animals transported thousands of miles around the globe and imported into the United Kingdom for experimentation.
Today's statement by pro-animal research scientists fails to mention that the animals they most want to transport are non-human primates, and their 'need' for primate imports is based largely on financial concerns: it is cheaper for them to replenish supplies following capture of wild animals in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, than it is to set up breeding colonies in the UK."
In 2008, the European Commission put forward the adoption of European Union strategies to phase out the use of offspring of wild-caught monkeys. This was successfully defeated by pro-animal research scientists and biotech/pharma companies, so their 'need' to import these animals - in often inhumane conditions - remains.
This medical research preserving currently held freedom and choice; it is about reducing costs for some of the biggest companies in the world.
Scientists who are genuinely interested in biomedical research advances, rather than obstinately preserving the status quo, appear to be more open-minded, supporting a wide range of techniques and avoiding campaigning in favor of a single approach.
HSI UK says honest debate is urgently requires, not obfuscated by exaggerated claims about animal research efficacy, and one in which the scientific case for not using animals is given a genuinely fair hearing.
The regrettably bloody-minded rhetoric so often touted by those who campaign for animal research, risks undermining the great work done by millions of biomedical scientists worldwide who don't use animals because they recognize that more human-relevant approaches exist.
It serves to suppress debate and drive an increasingly artificial wedge between the vocal few and the majority of bench scientists who don't ascribe to a pro-animal use agenda."