How can the European Union move away from animal testing?

13 Oct 2022
The battle rages on for animals used in laboratory testing, despite the technology and knowledge we have for alternatives to this practice. Next Thursday the Intergroup will come together with experts in academia, the European Commission and EU Agencies to shine a light on this issue and look to the next steps.

In 2020, the Commission adopted its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), which aims to deliver a high level of protection of health and the environment as a first step towards Europe’s zero pollution ambition. This strategy also aims to reduce the dependency on animal testing and understands the importance of innovation to deliver its objectives. In fact, the success of this strategy will partially depend on the ability to transform the EU chemicals legislation to allow for flexible evidence-based approaches to safety assessment, in order to strengthen and broaden the capacity to identify toxic substances.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution in September 2021, asking the European Commission to develop an action plan to accelerate the transition to non-animal testing. In August this year, the European Citizens Initiative Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics - Commit to a Europe without Animal Testing collected over 1.4 million signatures. This is the second ECI on this issue that has surpassed the one million signature mark, showing that EU citizens continue to express their discontentment towards what they consider insufficient actions to end animal testing.

But despite the need to move away from animal testing, the European Commission is still not changing direction. Earlier this year, the Commission introduced questions in a public consultation survey on the revision of the REACH regulation, implying that New (non-animal) Approach Methodologies (NAMs) will weaken health and environment protection from chemical hazards, and hamper the competitiveness of the EU industry. 

To achieve the ambitious goals of the CSS, a more dynamic approach is required in order to increase the acceptability and accelerate the use of innovative non-animal testing strategies, but the regulatory acceptance of these new and emerging methods and approaches is not without obstacles.

Join us on Thursday as we bring together views from the Commission’s Joint Research Centre, industry, academia and EU Agencies to explore how the upcoming legislative revisions can deliver a milestone on the transition to non-animal testing approaches in regulatory toxicology.

The meeting will take place from 10:00-11:30 in room WEISS N 3.2. A link to follow online will be uploaded shortly.