Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Austrian Parliament Agrees to Ban on Ape Experiments

Amazing.  I believe I posted this before, but just wanted to
make sure all see it.
Very good development and a good sign for possible future
developments in other
countries. Read on..
Press release from Austria. http://www.vgt.at/
Upper Chamber in Austrian Parliament agrees to ban on ape 
experiments!
 
From 1st Jan 2006 onwards, experiments on apes
that are not in the
interest of the subject, will be illegal in
principle in
Austria
 
In the year 2002, the last chimps were retired
from vivisection at the
labs of the company Baxter in Orth at the
Danube 30 km East of Vienna.
The retirement opened up the debate on the
justification of experiments
on all apes, not just Chimps, Bonobos,
Gorillas and Orang Utans, but
also on all 8 Gibbon species. A
Parliamentarian scientific committee was
set up and eventually agreed on the ban,
putting it before Parliament.
On 7th December 2005, the Lower Chamber in
Parliament agreed on the new
law and today the Upper Chamber also
supported the bill in a unanimous
vote. By 1st January 2006 therefore, the
new law will be in place and
all ape experiments banned.
 
Dr. Martin Balluch, president of the
Austrian Association Against
Animal Factories, which was
instrumental in achieving the ban, comments:
"Today's decision might not have
immediate practical consequences,
since there are no ape experiments
in
Austria anymore. But the ban does a
lot more than guaranteeing that there
won't be any such experiments in
the future. On the one hand, this
decision will send a signal to the
rest of Europe and the world, where
such experiments still take place:
civilized countries consider it
unacceptable to allow any kind of
experiments on apes. That should
have a ripple-on effect to stop such
experiments elsewhere, like the fur
farm ban in
Austria eventually helped to
trigger a similar ban for example in 
England
.
  But on the other hand, this decision
can also be seen as a
declaration on the status of animals in
society. After all, the all-out ban
actually says that any kind of experiment,
even of the mildest form, is
illegal if it is not in the interest of
the subject, never mind how big the
advantage of the experiment could be for
mankind. Hence, the ban is one
step away from the Kantian view of
animals as means to human ends, a
step away from the human-animal concept
of the enlightening era that sees
animals as mindless things.
 
The contradiction between seeing
animals as things, as they are treated
by law, and seeing animals as
individuals in their own right, like you
and me, with a right to life and a
value independent of their use for
human ends, as it is becoming common
in society, is growing ever bigger.
This discrepancy will become more and
more obvious and cause for
conflict, until a big change, a
revolution in thought, will happen towards
animals as subjects of rights. For
many in the younger generation that
attitude is already a reality. And
the next generation will find it even
more obvious. With time, to put that
attitude into law will be
inevitable."

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