AIA writes Open Letter to 24 Overseas Embassies in the UK calling for a Global Ban on Biohazard Research

The Animal Interfaith Alliance (AIA) has written an open letter to 24 overseas embassies in the UK on behalf of its Director, Dr Andre Menache, calling on a global ban on biohazard research. The open letter is below.


Dear Ambassador,

Open Letter Calling for a Global Ban on Biohazard Research

We, the Animal Interfaith Alliance, a group of 17 faith-based animal advocacy organisations (listed below), write to you in your capacity as Ambassador to the UK, to request your help in calling for a global ban on biohazard research.

We refer here specifically to the genetic manipulation of animal viruses and other biological agents. Of particular concern are the three thousand biosafety level 3 and 59 biosafety level 4 facilities, worldwide.1

As far as we are aware, no laboratory has yet signed up to the voluntary biorisk management system (ISO 35001), introduced in 2019 to establish management processes to reduce biosafety and biosecurity risks.2

In addition, no facility, not even the highest biosafety level 4, is immune to accidents, as illustrated by the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at the Pirbright Institute in the UK in 2007.3

Currently, we are faced with the COVID pandemic, which could be the result of so-called ‘gain of function’ research, which has generated much controversy and even a moratorium from 2014 to 2017 in the U.S.  This high-risk research aims to create mutations in pathogens (especially animal viruses) to make them more contagious or lethal to the human population. This ‘gain of function’ endows them with abilities they do not have in nature.4

In view of the above, we wish to invoke the precautionary principle by calling for a global ban on biohazard research. The health and wellbeing of future generations depend on your determination to act decisively to achieve this ban.  Please will you confirm to us your commitment to a ban.  We thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully yours,

Dr Andre Menache BSc(Hons) BVSc Dip ECAWBM (AWSEL) MRCVS

Director


Member Organisations (in alphabetical order):- 

The Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals

Animals in Islam

Bhagvatinandji Education and Health Trust

Catholic Concern for Animals

Christian Vegetarians and Vegans UK

The Christian Vegetarian Association US

Dharma Voices for Animals

The Institute of Jainology

The International Ahimsa Organisation 

The Jewish Vegetarian Society

The Mahavir Trust

The Oshwal Association of the UK

Pan-Orthodox Concern for Animals

Quaker Concern for Animals

The Romeera Foundation

The Sadhu Vaswani Centre

The Young Jains

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosafety_level
  2. https://theconversation.com/fifty-nine-labs-around-world-handle-the-deadliest-pathogens-only-a-quarter-score-high-on-safety-161777
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_United_Kingdom_foot-and-mouth_outbreak
  4. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-scientists-tweak-lab-viruses-to-make-them-more-contagious1/

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