Switzerland to vote on becoming first country to ban animal testing

Switzerland to vote on becoming first country to ban animal testing

Animal rights activists in Switzerland on Sunday will vote on whether to become the first country to completely ban medical testing on animals, after securing enough support to hold a referendum in the country with a significant pharmaceutical industry.

According to government statistics, more than 550,000 animals died in laboratory tests in Switzerland in 2020. 400,000 mice and rats, over 4,600 dogs, 1,500 cats, and 1,600 horses make up the total. During and after the studies, primates, cows, pigs, fish, and birds were also slaughtered.

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The prohibition is unlikely to succeed, much to the satisfaction of the pharmaceutical industry, which has warned that it will put a stop to new medication development and compel businesses and researchers to flee overseas.

Interpharma, a lobbying group for the pharmaceutical industry, claims that the industry, which includes businesses like Roche and Novartis, contributes 9% of the Swiss economy in indirect impacts and accounts for roughly half of Swiss exports.

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Interpharma has led the industry’s opposition, saying the proposals would be devastating if adopted.

“Drug research, clinical studies in hospitals and basic research at universities… would no longer be possible,” said Interpharma CEO Rene Buholzer.

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Pharma bosses said an animal testing ban could lead to the end of new drugs.

Maries van den Broek of the University of Zurich studies ways to improve mice’s immune systems to fight cancer by implanting tumors into them.

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