Europe: Animal testing in Belgium resulted in the deaths of 437,275 animals all over Belgium in 2020. While some animals die while testing necessary drugs and medicine, others kill on much more dubious grounds.
In Wallonia, some animals were forced to swim until exhaustion or even made to become addicted to alcohol, all using Walloon taxpayer money, according to the sources.
Under current legislation, Walloon citizens have no oversight over how taxpayer money is used to fund animal experimentation, especially as influential lobbies are blocking a decree proposed by the Walloon Minister for Animal Welfare, Céline Tellier.
A recent white paper from veterinarians Solange t’Kint and André Ménache from the Suppression of Animal Experiments Association (SEA) is putting the issue under the spotlight again, calling into question the air of secrecy around animal testing in Belgium.
“For decades, animal protection associations have denounced the degrading treatment and great suffering inflicted on animals in the secrecy of laboratories,” the open letter highlights. Belgian animal testing centres claim that they have nothing to hide as well as attempt to counter what they view as emotional language from animal rights protestors to sway public opinion.
In a 2016 manifesto signed by 22 Belgian research centres and companies, Belgian animal treatment plants stated that they “recognise and respect that some people oppose the use of animals in research” but called for “clear and honest information about the benefits of research for humans and animals.”
In 2020, Minister Tellier attempted to submit a decree providing greater government oversight to animal testing projects within Belgium. The proposals would have also encouraged laboratories to use alternative testing methods. Belgian universities ultimately blocked this, which decried the minister’s “bias based on a barely veiled desire to make the use of animals impossible.”
Furthermore, the open later complained that the Walloon government’s inability to regulate the industry had made it above the law. Even Wallonia’s committee for the protection of experimental animals is now dominated by animal testing lobbyists, the latter open claims, with nearly 90 percent of the board linked to universities, users of products that use animal testing, animal testing interests, and others.