On September 16, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution calling for an EU-wide action plan to phase out the use of animals in research and testing.
While acknowledging the advances animal testing has had in developing treatments for human and animal health in the past, the Parliament underlines several shortcomings in the field, notably:
- Little change in the overall animal use since 2010, According to the latest data, 12 million animals are bred and killed yearly for the purpose of animal testing, without being used in actual experiments;
- Lack of transparency in the use of animals in science;
- No proper enforcement of existing tools;
- Inadequate funding on non-animal testing methods;
To improve the situation, the Parliament calls on the Commission to draw up an EU-wide action plan including all key Directorates-Generals(DGs) and agencies aiming to:
- Drive “the active phase-out by reducing, refining and replacing procedures on live animals for scientific and regulatory purposes” (European Parliament, 2021)
- Accelerate “the development of the alternative animal-free methods, technologies and instruments necessary for change[FSORD1] [IMMOMD2] ”. (European Parliament, 2021)
According to the Resolution, the plan’s feasibility and profitability are supported by the following facts:
- Animal testing is already included in the responsibilities of multiple DGs and in the agenda of several EU agencies;
- The “ban on animal testing in the cosmetics sector has successfully shown that phasing out the use of animal testing is feasible without jeopardizing development” (European Parliament, 2021) ;
- The plan is essential in order “to achieve the Commission’s ambitious health and environmental goals, set out in the Next Generation EU recovery plan and the European Green Deal” (European Parliament, 2021);
- A toolbox of non-animal testing models is growing – accelerating the innovation in science and new technologies;
- The phase-out will enable breakthrough acknowledgments and increase animal welfare.
Moreover, the EP Resolution has gathered large support amongst different civil society groups. Opinion polls also show that ending animal experiments is supported by nearly three-quarters of the EU population – with 72% of the citizens agreeing on setting binding targets and deadlines to phase them out.
Interested to know more? – Find the full Parliament’s resolution here!
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European Interest (2021). The EP votes in favour of a comprehensive plan to phase-out experiments on animals. Retrieved on 21/10/2021 from https://www.europeaninterest.eu/article/the-ep-votes-in-favour-of-a-comprehensive-plan-to-phase-out-experiments-on-animals/#:~:text=The%20EP%20votes%20in%20favour%20of%20a%20comprehensive,phase-out%20of%20the%20use%20of%20animals%20in%20experiments
European Parliament (2021). European Parliament resolution of 16 September 2021 on plans and actions to accelerate the transition to innovation without the use of animals in research, regulatory testing and education (2021/2784(RSP)). Retrieved on 21/10/2021 from https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2021-0387_EN.html
European Parliament (2021). MEPs demand EU action plan to end the use of animals in research and testing. Retrieved on 21/10/2021 from https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20210910IPR11926/meps-demand-eu-action-plan-to-end-the-use-of-animals-in-research-and-testing
Savanta Comres (2020). Cruelty Free Europe – Animal testing in the EU. Retrieved on 27/10/2021 from https://comresglobal.com/polls/cruelty-free-europe-animal-testing-in-the-eu/