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Animal Justice Urges Government to Fund Animal Testing Alternatives & Plant-Based Food

Animal Justice August 9, 2018

Animal Justice is urging the federal government to fund innovative industries that save the lives of animals by creating humane, animal-free products. Specifically, Animal Justice is asking the government to invest in developing alternatives to animal testing, and invest in growing Canada’s burgeoning plant-based food sector.

The federal government is currently consulting on 2019 federal budget priorities, focused on economic growth and ensuring Canada’s competitiveness. Animal Justice’s submission, filed last week, suggests opportunities that improve life for animals while supporting animal-friendly economic opportunities.

Animal Justice is seeking funding for the new Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM). The first of its kind in Canada, CCAAM was set up at the University of Windsor in 2017, and has a mandate to develop and promote scientific research, teaching, and toxicity testing methods that do not require the use of animals.

Canadian researchers used over 4.3 million animals in cruel experiments in 2016, an increase of over 20% from 2015. Conventional medical research relies heavily on animal models of disease, even though it is difficult to reliably translate results in animals over to human patients because of significant biological differences between humans and other animals. Scientists around the world are already at work developing animal-free methods because they are more reliable, accurate, and cost-effective. Not only do these animal-free alternatives spare millions of animals from death and suffering, they also represent a significant economic opportunity for Canada as the field grows.

Animal Justice is also asking the government to invest in the plant-based food industry, which is growing at an astonishing rate. People are incorporating more plant-based food products in their diets to protect animals, human health, and the environment. A preliminary draft of Canada’s new Food Guide, released in 2017, also suggests a shift toward recommending that Canadians eat more plant-based foods.

The global meat alternatives market is valued at $4.33 billion and is expected to reach $6.43 billion by 2023. Meanwhile, the global plant-based milk market is set to reach $16.3 billion by the end of 2018.

The federal government has already recognized the economic potential of the plant-based sector, investing $150 million in the industry through the Innovation Superclusters Initiative in 2017.

Canada is already one of the largest producers of flaxseed, canola, oats, and durum wheat, and the third largest producer and exporter of pulses, with the highest yields in the world. With further government investment, Canada is well-positioned to become a powerhouse in the field of plant-based protein. The exponential growth of the plant-based market promises to create a more profitable and competitive economy for Canada, as well as ensuring long-term sustainability in the changing economic landscape.

Have your say! Contact your Member of Parliament to urge them to include animal-friendly initiatives in the 2019 federal budget.


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Animal Justice

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University of Windsor Launches New Centre to Develop Animal Testing Alternatives

Animal Justice July 6, 2017

The University of Windsor is opening a cutting edge new research institution: the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM). The first of its kind in Canada, and the CCAAM aims to expose the ineffectiveness of animal testing models, and develop compassionate, animal-free research methods.

CCAAM executive director Dr. Charu Chandrasekera is a biochemist and molecular biologist with 17 years of experience in the field. After years of conducting cardiovascular disease and diabetes research on rodents, she saw first-hand that results in animal models simply don’t translate when it comes to humans.

As Dr. Chandrasekara told the Windsor Star, “Yes, we’ve used animals for decades — It’s not working. When you have 95 per cent failure to translate from animal models to human clinical trials, there’s something wrong with the paradigm.”

According to Dr. Neal Barnard, the founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, about half of drugs approved for consumption are either recalled or relabelled due to side effects. These adverse human reactions are not identified in animal research.

The revolutionary animal-free technology in the CCAAM will include computer models that analyze human cells and tissues, and organoid modeling—creating in vitro three-dimensional human organs with stem cells.

Many other countries are already moving away from animal research, but Canada is falling behind. In 2015, more than 3,570,352 animal victims—mostly mice and fishes—were subjected to cruel laboratory experiments, according to the Canadian Council of Animal Care (CCAC). (Privately-funded facilities aren’t required to report, so the total number is likely significantly higher.)

Animal research is notoriously difficult for the public to monitor due to inadequate regulation and lack of publicly available information. Yet in March of this year, Canadians got a glimpse of the gruesome truth when CTV’s W5 aired a Last Chance For Animals investigation into shocking cruelty to dogs, pigs, and monkeys at Montreal lab. The hidden camera footage showed animals being aggressively restrained, thrown into cages, and slammed onto steel operating tables. Some technicians swung dogs by catheters, which ran down their spines and into their abdomens. Painful procedures were performed on animals in plain sight of other research victims, causing additional psychological distress.

The CCAAM is set to begin work in October and will offer degree programs for research with animal-alternatives. It’s encouraging that major technological advancements in animal-free alternatives are becoming mainstream and will help replace cruel and outdated animal experimentation.

There is also legislative action designed to rescue animals from lab experiments—Senate Bill S-214 would ban animal testing for cosmetic products, something the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Norway have already done.

Until cruel animal experiments are outlawed, make sure to research and avoid companies that test on animals. A new tool can also help you avoid supporting health charities that fund animal experiments—check out www.HumaneCharities.ca.















Animal Justice

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