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Does Europe want to be a research hub?

Editorial Team October 19th, 2012 4 Comments

Flag of European UnionListen to just about any European politician these days and you are guaranteed to hear some or all of the following keywords: ‘jobs’, ‘growth’, ‘innovation’, and ‘research’.

Read the Europe 2020 strategy and the Innovation Union policy and the message from EU policymakers is clear. Europe says it needs to be in the Premier League of scientific R&D, not just because research delivers solutions that help improve our lives, but because we want to develop and produce things that have value; things people in the US, Japan, China and elsewhere will buy from us.

Rhetoric vs reality

But what is the reality behind the rhetoric? And is Europe sending mixed signals about its support for research?

Last month the European Commission adopted a new regulation on clinical trials explicitly designed to make it easier to do research in the EU.

Just days later a court in Italy ordered the temporary closure of one of Europe’s leading dog-breeding facilities.

The move followed claims by animal rights groups that the Green Hill facility, a major supplier of animals for research use, was mistreating animals. The company flatly denies this. The judge granted the campaigners ‘custody’ of the animals and effectively cast a serious doubt over the future of the company.

 

Seeds of doubt

This raises questions about the future of dog breeding in Europe given the prominent role that the Green Hill facility played in the research landscape here, and the likelihood that other breeders will be unnerved by the incident.

And, crucially, it sows seeds of doubt too about how European policy is evolving in this area. A number of Italian politicians joined the campaign against Green Hill, tapping into an anti-research sentiment among some sections of their electorate.  

 

Would the human clinical trials that Europe has vowed to attract and keep be possible without animal research?

Would fewer of us consider enrolling in a trial to test the power of a new medicine if the drug had not been through safety checks on animals first?

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  1. Raemdonck says:

    Most of us dont realize what it takes to get to a life saving treatment, a drug or a vaccine. We should be thankful to those that day in day out are looking for cures that save millions of people, generation after generation, you, your father, sister, mother, you friend or your neighbours. Those that do the research are not against animals they find cures for all, humans and animals alike. Look at the Nobel prizes in Medicine in the last 40 years they have all (except for one) used animal research. Do not let a virulent minority dictate to a silent majority. The real question is can Europe afford not to partake in this crucial effort that benefits humanity? I don't think so – it matters to all of us. 

  2. Hi, thanks for sharing your view on this platform, it is greaty appreciated. I find your last question interesting indeed.

  3. snfm says:

     

    One member my family, as close as possible, died of breast cancer, since the disease was discovered too late. She has the opinion that death was a natural thing and although she wanted to live as long as possible, she always thought she was no better than any other living being, and she could not accept neither receive a healing that had caused the death – or worse, suffering in life – of other living beings. While she lived, she was happy how few people I know are, even though they are not sick.

    Moreover, now a days there are more and more cases of success in the areas of alternative or natural medicine.

    I think like her.

    Good evening.

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