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A missed opportunity

Since the former animal experiments law, Directive 86/609/EEC, came into force in 1986, significant progress has been made in the development of non-animal alternative methods and understanding of the capacity of animals to experience pain and suffering.

The ECEAE believes the overhaul of Directive 86/609/EEC should have been an opportunity to bring in bold and progressive new legislation to focus on ending the use and suffering of millions of animals in EU experiments every year.

But after almost two years of negotiations, the new Directive 2010/63/EU does not include the improvements expected by the public. For example:

  • Monkeys can still be used in EU research
  • Monkeys captured in the wild can still be used in EU research – the new law only commits the EU to carrying out a feasibility study on a ban
  • Experiments causing animals severe and prolonged suffering are still allowedResearchers can repeatedly reuse the same animal in experiments that cause up to ‘moderate’ suffering

These new measures are in direct conflict with public opinion. Read more here.

Some of the improvements the ECEAE campaigned for have been included in the new Directive, including:

  • Incentives to develop and promote non-animal alternative methods
  • A system that classifies experiments according to the level of suffering animals will experience
  • The scope of the Directive broadened to protect more animals used in experimentsResearchers must seek authorisation for most experiments (except for toxicity testing)

The measures adopted in the new Directive make it similar to legislation in countries which use animals the most - France, the UK and Germany. Sadly the law in these countries has done little to prevent animal suffering as the number of animals used in research continues to increase. Furthermore, the ECEAE believes that the European Union has produced a charter for the multibillion pound animal research industry to carry on business as usual, with scant regard either for animal welfare or public opinion.

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