On our way upstream we come past the chemical plant Dormagen, the former Bayer plant. Since 1917 chemical factories have established themselves there and nowadays 10’500 people work in some 60 companies on an area of 360 hectares. We immediately think of the thousands upon thousands of laboratory animals, dogs, cats, monkeys, rats, mice amongst others who suffer in the labs of the chemical industry.
According to its own website, chemical multinational Bayer, whose logo we film, «handled» 144’471 animals worldwide in 2014 (2013: 142’084 animals) in tests. The animals were mainly «used» in the development of new drugs, crop protection agents and industrial chemicals (whole article in English).
In the European Union some twelve million animals are used and killed every year. In Great Britain, France and Germany, which we crossed on our journey, the numbers of animal tests are increasing. These three countries alone «use» 55 per cent of the overall number of animals. The German NGO Menschen für Tierrechte – Bundesverband der Tierversuchsgegner e.V. explains the details.
Anti-vivisectionists have been fighting for the abolition of animal testing and for a paradigm shift towards animal-free research methods. Currently, however, developments in Germany are heading in a different direction. Doctors Against Animal Testing Germany write about planned new laboratory facilities in the animal testing stronghold Munich.
In Switzerland, tier-im-fokus.ch (TIF) and other organisations launched a referendum against a new 141 million Franks animal testing building at Berne University, the signatures for which were successfully collected by May 2015. According to the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office FSVO some 606’505 animals were «used» in animal testing in 2014 (a 2.8 per cent increase compared to 2013). The Swiss League against Vivisection criticises the statistics of the FSVO as little transparent and informative.
>> Cf. the RTS’s (French speaking Swiss TV) coverage of the march for the abolition of speciesism in Geneva on 22 August 2015, which also talks about animal testing in Switzerland (as from mins 13.17).