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At today’s meeting of the Intergroup on the Conservation and Welfare of Animals, the topic discussed was one that remains a great concern for the citizens of the EU and therefore of great importance to the Members of the European Parliament, that of animal experimentation. The Intergroup calls for the strong scrutiny of the implementation of all requirements of the directive. The concerns of EU citizens on the use of animals in experiments must be addressed. Transparency is key to this process. The Intergroup appeals to the Commission and Member States for the commitment to provide more resources for the development of alternative methods to work towards the ultimate goal of replacement of animal use.

Intergroup Vice-President, Stefan Eck (GUE/NGL, DE) who chaired the meeting suggested: “More attention must be given to the directive’s implementation, implementation being one of Europe’s perennial weakness. In addition the Intergroup urges the European Commission to involve all stakeholders in the review process which is due to take place in 2017. Moreover the Intergroup calls for a strategy on alternatives with the goal to ultimately replace animal use, embodying an evolution of scientific paradigms.”

The invited speakers spoke on their views and involvement in the implementation of the Directive 2010/63/EU on the Protection of Animals used for scientific purposes’. All speakers, including the Commission, spoke of the need for a constructive dialogue and engagement of all stakeholders including members of the European Parliament on this important issue. They spoke of their commitment to share experiences and expertise on the requirements laid out in the directive and disseminate these in best practices.

Kirsty Reid, Scientific Officer at Eurogroup insisted that “There will be no improvement to animal welfare without better implementation of the Directive across all Member States.”

 Furthermore she added: “The only way to guarantee good animal welfare is to ensure that the EU puts in place the necessary higher animal welfare mechanisms to implement, control and monitor all requirements of the directive effectively this includes an obligation to contribute more to alternative. Eurogroup is playing their role in driving the development of a strategy working towards a goal of replacement.”

 Magda Chlebus, Director Science Policy at the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations stated that: “Consistent implementation of Directive 2010/63 is in the best interests of animal welfare and quality of research across Europe, two elements that are closely connected and contribute to the scientific paradigm shift. It is a shared responsibility and great opportunity for collaboration between the scientific community, competent authorities, the European Parliament and animal welfare groups.”

A study group of members of the Intergroup will participate in a meeting at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) Institute of Health and Consumer Protection and the EU reference laboratory for alternatives to animal testing, EURL ECVAM, based in Ispra, Italy on the 22 May. They will be introduced and informed of the activities undertaken and visit the laboratories where they work on alternatives and lead the EU validation process. The visit also provides the MEPs with the opportunity to meet and discuss with the experts in the field and to better understand how progress is made. The remit of EURL ECVAM falls under the Directive.

The Directive 2010/63/EU governs decisions whether to grant the use animals in scientific, testing and education procedures. In addition, through this directive, it is the first time that EU legislation spells out the principle of the 3Rs of replacement, reduction and refinement[1] and makes it a firm legal requirement. The speakers gave a rounded view, sharing animal welfare, authorities and research & industry perspectives and expectations.

 

[1] European Commission explanation on the 3Rs of replacement, reduction and refinement http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/lab_animals/3r/alternative_en.htm

 

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