“Libé” deals with animal experimentation and is disturbing… proof that he’s on target right?

The newspaper Liberation devotes a good part of its last “Libé des Animaux” to animal experimentation, the content of which is harshly criticized by the defenders of this method. For the 30 Million Friends Foundation, the discussion about animal experimentation is still important, to finally abandon it in favor of alternative methods.

“The experiment represents the most tense of the questions related to the animal condition”: these are the words of Liberation to evoke the suffering of animals subjected to scientific or medical experimentation. And the facts reported by the daily, certainly not new, are truly “shocking” to say the least. However, the special issue is far from being an indictment. It is therefore regrettable that it excludes from the beginning the debate on the very necessity of animal experimentation, whereas the question of its prohibition can be raised. In addition, as 30millionsdamis.fr points out to Roland Cash, doctor, pharmacologist and vice-president of the Transcience association ” the existence of alternative solutions to animal experimentation is very little mentioned, perhaps due to the constraints inherent in the written press “.

The 3R rule: Reduce, Replace, Refine.

In general, the goal of Liberation is instead to verify that the “3Rs” (Reduce, Replace, Refine: ie the ethical basis of animal experimentation) are respected. Principles defended by the researchers themselves, and also taken up in the European directive of 2010 aimed at regulating practices. This did not prevent GIRCOR (Interprofessional Group for Reflection and Communication on Research, which defends the need for experimentation on animals) from publishing a sad statement regretting a “very oriented” issue, even outright questioning whether this is “journalism or activism”.

Lack of transparency

However, the work done by “Liberation” is rather realistic. So he questioned the official numbers that count the number of animals concerned. By cross-checking data from the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI), Liberation arrived at a total of approximately 3.7 million animals of concern for the year 2020, including 1.6 are actually used by laboratories . These figures are not disputed until today, it is difficult to see in them a militant approach.

Similarly, Liberation emphasizes that it is very difficult to obtain the inspection reports drawn up by the services of the competent ministries to control research structures that use animals… even if their delivery on request is, until currently, a legal obligation imposed on administration. Again, the assertion is not disputed. In general, the issue is mainly and implicitly based on a study conducted by Pauline Türk, a recognized professor of public law. This study criticizes both the lack of transparency and the non-compliance, of certain establishments that practice animal experimentation, with certain legally binding obligations. This work was not only not challenged by GIRCOR, but was even described as “rigorous” in a press release.

Rejection of dialogue

In reality, this accusation of “militancy” seems to hide badly what is simply a refusal to be too exposed to criticism: Liberation is not actually the same audience as Pauline Türk… However, it is interesting that GIRCOR responded, and not just in a ten-line press release: aren’t some of the tests mentioned extremely harsh? Don’t animals suffer? Isn’t the main thing happening out of sight?

The special issue of Liberation also draws attention to two dog farms, mainly beagles, intended to be sold to laboratories. Journalists of the daily clarified that they have not visited the facilities and that their statements are supported by other sources, but the fact is that the breeding conditions reported raise questions: 2m² per dog, women chaining piglets… If this is true, why doesn’t GIRCOR want to talk about it? And if it is wrong, why doesn’t the organization try to prove it?

Alternative methods

According to Roland Cash, “ this Libé number has everyone talking … and this is undoubtedly a problem for advocates of animal experimentation. ” When GIRCOR has, for example, invited alone to France inter, without an opponent, he finds that it is very balanced. “, joked the vice-president of Transcience who candidly admitted that the special issue was probably” slightly in favor of the animal cause “. He remembers, however, that when the subject is mentioned in the media, the imbalance is often very clear in the other direction. The 30 Million Friends Foundation, which fights for the end of animal experimentation, focuses on others’ t other partners to come up with alternative methods.

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