The revision of the European animal experiments directive is reaching a critical point, with the EU Council meeting on 14 December to discuss the proposals Animal experimentation is an issue which attracts a great deal of public concern.

A recent opinion survey in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and the Czech Republic found very large majorities wishing to see bans on the use of primates, cats and dogs as well as on research causing severe suffering or which is not for life-threatening human illnesses. The public also wants to see extensive information about animal experiments, with only personal and confidential information withheld. Unfortunately, politicians seem intent on ignoring the public.

The latest proposals would allow the use of primates, cats and dogs - as well as other animals - for just about any purpose; allow suffering which is both severe and long-lasting, even for primates; allow individual animals to be repeatedly re-used, including where they have already experienced severe suffering; severely limit the circumstances in which available non-animal alternatives have to be used; absolve governments of the responsibility of scrutinising proposals for safety-testing, no matter how trivial the product; allow needless duplication; and only require limited openness and after-the event- review of projects (to enable lessons to be learnt for the future). The EU is capable of much better.

The current process is highly secretive and most MEPs have no idea what is being done in their names. There is still time for EU to bring itself back in line with public opinion and vote for modern, humane science and we urge it to do so.

Michelle Thew Chief Executive BUAV, London Those who accuse others of writing "Europhobic fictions" should get a grip on reality first.

Martyn Winner (letter, Dec 3) peddles the Europhile myth that £billions-worth of UK jobs/trade is "100 per cent reliant" on membership of the EU.

This is utter nonsense, but is exactly what our complacent LibLabCon political establishment wants the populace to believe. Britain has accrued a massive trade deficit with the `member states` of the European Union: we buy far more from them than they buy from us. They simply could not afford to cease trading with us, and leaving the EU would put the UK in a very strong position to establish a trade agreement with the EU, like those of many other countries around the world, including Mexico and Switzerland. They trade with the federal superstate, yet they are not a part of it.

Colin Hingston, Southampton.