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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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FRAME does not support the principle of patenting of animal life.


FRAME believes current regulations create a situation where some patented animal models are not available to the wider research community, leading to duplication of work and potentially misleading results.


Patents can also cause researchers to see animals more as research tools than as sentient creatures.


Additional information


Restricting access to data from patented animals means that several similar models might be created. That could lead to unnecessary use of large numbers of animals giving slightly different results because each model is subtly different.


European Directive 98/44/EC was passed on the 6 July 1998 and resulted in the harmonisation of laws that addressed patenting of biotechnology inventions and human genes within the EU. Scientists are now able to patent strains of laboratory animals and genetically modified animal models, so long as there is a substantial medical reason to do so. The law was ratified despite the fact that The Netherlands voted against the directive and Italy and Belgium abstained from voting.


Availability of patents could lead to commercial incentives to researchers working in areas like genetic engineering, where there are already concerns about welfare problems and the exponential rise in numbers of animals used. Patenting animals could compound the problem of animals being considered as research tools, rather than sentient lives.