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Vivisection, Globalization and the Reach Project

Experimentation on animals presents a set of inter-connected  aspects that nonetheless need to be analysed separately. There  is the macroscopic aspect related to the suffering of the animals  involved in hundreds of experiments, the aspect connected to  the scientific validity of such experiments that are often not  only useless but also harmful. Lastly, there is another less  known aspect that is represented by the economic activities that  orbit around these methodologies and that fit in perfectly with  the interests of multinational corporations.

According to data issued in 1996, the profit of pharmaceutical multinationals worldwide corresponds to a GDP of 305 billion Dollars a year, an amount that is growing continuously. The interest of each multinational corporation is to expand its business and  this interest is pursued in a number of ways. Experimentation  is part and parcel of this strategy: it is perfectly instrumental  to the system as it makes it possible to continuously present  new formulas labelled as harmless and "proved" safe  by the tests. This proof however means nothing in scientific  terms as it is impossible to obtain the required results and,  to this end, use is made of different animals until the one or  ones that react as expected is singled out, thus perfectly meeting  the interests of those who developed that particular molecule.

Another function carried out by these tests is to defend the  monopoly held by multinational corporations. Investing billions  on animal testing is certainly not aimless: if we stop and think  of the competition that could be put up by natural medicaments  against "chemical" medicines and of the many active  principles that can be found in Nature and that could be developed  and produced independently, out of the scope of control of multinationals  and, in addition, exploiting the enormous attraction that natural  products exercise on the public in general, it is easy to understand  that the investments made on any type of test, including tests  on animals, are aimed at defending the chemical multinationals'  huge economic interests and are therefore viewed to be essential.  Moreover, the high costs entailed are not borne by the companies  but end up marking up the price of the end product which means  they are borne by the purchasers. This procedure actually has  a dually positive effect from an industrial point of view: it  does away with competition from small competitors and justifies  price hikes.

The intertwining of colossal interests between the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and their capacity to disguise strategies  and objectives need to be analysed comprehensively.

In order to carry on an abolitionist battle against animal experimentation  it is necessary not to lose sight of the overall picture. Animal  experimentation must be combated for all the reasons previously  mentioned: it is scientifically unreliable, unnecessarily cruel,  damaging to public health and the environment and, because it indirectly supports those powers that, regardless of the statements  they make, do not want a world free from disease and a world  in which natural remedies and medicaments might be made readily  available to anyone in need. It is necessary to detect the weak  spots in the system and combat them until victory is achieved  so that, strengthened by the positive outcome, it might then  be possible to take the subsequent step.

To this aim, it is essential to resume a strong engagement in  the struggle to introduce, as soon as possible, a ban on the  testing of cosmetic products. This was the subject of a EU Directive  that suffered a very strange destiny, as it was passed but then  repeatedly deferred. We've now been waiting for it to come into  force for years. In fact, also this type of test is aimed at  guaranteeing major cosmetic corporations against possible competition  from smaller companies that would thus be freed from the burden  of costly animal testing.

The other point concerns the Reach Project which should not be launched without first having unmistakably and clearly established that the tests do not involve laboratory animals.

It is essential to involve the politicians that targeted animal  lovers in the last elections and turn these 2 battles into victories  as soon as possible.

Enrico Moriconi

Veterinarian, President of ASVEP, Green Counsellor of the Piemonte Region

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