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The ECEAE has raised concerns that the Austrian authorities are intending to regulate animal experiments in a way that is not in line with the new EU rules.
This month Austria published proposals for a ‘catalogue for the harm:benefit assessment’ in which they said that tests for regulators (typically toxicity tests) do not need to be ethically evaluated.
We have submitted a statement to the authorities that states that our very clear legal advice is that this is plainly wrong.
Article 36(2) of the EU Directive 2010/63/EC states:
‘Member States shall ensure that no project is carried out unless a favourable project evaluation by the competent authority has been received in accordance with Article 38’.
One of the requirements of Article 38 is that a project evaluation must include a harm:benefit analysis of the project ‘to assess whether the harm to the animals in terms of suffering, pain and distress is justified by the expected outcome taking into account ethical considerations and may ultimately benefit human beings, animals or the environment’.
So project evaluations are required for every project and every evaluation must include a harm:benefit analysis.
We say that it would be absurd, and wholly contrary to the philosophy underpinning the directive, if a project involving severe suffering to develop an inessential substance (say, one destined for a new washing-up liquid) did not have to undergo a harm:benefit analysis, whereas all other projects, including those investigating debilitating human diseases, did require a harm:benefit analysis.
Whilst we oppose all animal experiments we also seek in the meantime to ensure that governments properly implement the (inadequate) laws that are in place. We hope Austria will amend its draft regulation accordingly.