At the European Citizen’s Initiative Hearing held in the European Parliament on the 11 May, there was a lot of passion in the room for those who support an end to animal experiments and also for those supporting scientific advancements where animals are used in experiments.

The European Citizens initiative under discussion, entitled ‘Stop Vivisection’, urges the European Commission to abrogate directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes and requests animal testing to be stopped for biomedical and toxicological research. It received over 1173 000 mil signatures. 

The Directive under scrutiny was developed to provide ‘protection’ to animals used in experiments. The Director General for DG Environment, Karl Falkenberg, highlighted in his speech at the ECI hearing that the EU is said to stand out over the rest of the world as that which holds the highest protection for animals. The directive has long been called a compromise which was agreed after intense deliberations. It has only just been transposed (March 2015) by the last of the 28 Member States.

Presentations at the Hearing included Dr Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, the Nobel Prize laureate for medicine (2008) where she outlined why she believes the reasons animal models are necessary but also stated the need to put more resources into developing alternatives. Emily McIvor, Humane Society International, is pleased animals used for biomedical research is now a topic open for discussion. She too noted the need to fund alternatives and once validated they must be incorporated into relevant legislation without delay.

At the next Intergroup session on the 21st May in Strasbourg, the focus will be on the implementation of this Directive. Invited speakers include  a Commission official, animal welfare and industry/research experts.

While Directive 2010/63/EU remains the legislation governing the use of animals for scientific purposes in Europe, together we can work toward it being implemented and enforced to its fullest such that it promotes improved animal welfare, faster and increased development and uptake of 3Rs, and improved quality of science.



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