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12 Million Reasons

12 million animals are used in experiments every year in the European Union. 

After 24 years the EU finally has a new law governing the use of animals in research , officially known as Directive 2010/63/EU.

The ECEAE campaigned hard to secure improvements in this new legislation, and whilst it does, thanks to our efforts, contain some changes for the better , sadly it doesn’t include many of the important proposals advocated by the ECEAE such as immediately phasing out the use of wild-caught animals, or strong restrictions on the use of non-human primates, or even a ban on the repeated use of animals in experiments.  Find out more.

The new Directive will now be integrated (transposed) into the national law of each EU Member State and will come into force in 2013. While this will bring about improvements for animals in laboratories in some EU countries, there is a risk that it will be used as an excuse to weaken protection for animals in countries which currently have more progressive laws in place.

Improvements adopted in the new legislation include:

  • The extension of the scope of the Directive in order to protect more animals used in experiments, including those used in training/education
  • Compulsory authorisation for Governments for research projects, though with less scrutiny for toxicity (safety) studies
  • A classification of experiments according to the level of severity with important implications for the cost/benefit evaluation which the Directive now requires all countries to carry out before deciding if an experiment can be permitted
  • Promotion at the EU and national levels of the development of non-animal alternative methods  
  • Periodic reviews of the Directive
  • Guidelines for housing and care standards

Integrating the EU Directive into law: opportunities and dangers

Some EU Member States have launched public consultations and have started to engage with stakeholders as part of the transposition process. The ECEAE is working hard to ensure that where current national standards of protection are higher, they are not weakened but maintained and enforced in each EU country.

For example, EU Governments should make it clear that animals should not be used in experiments causing severe and long-lasting suffering and pain, and that there should be tighter restrictions on the use of non-human primates.  We also urge EU Governments to increase the number, frequency and quality of inspections of laboratories. Transparency should be facilitated, while safeguarding personal and commercial confidential information.  

Contact the ECEAE member in your country to find out how you can get involved.  

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