Use of animals in research and testing
In its plenary session in Strasbourg on 5 May the European Parliament (EP) reached an agreement on the amendments to the European Commissions plans for updating European Directive 86/609, which regulates the use of animals in research and testing.
This file falls under the codecision procedure and gives the EP the power to adopt legislation jointly with the Council, requiring the two bodies to agree on an identical text before any proposal can become law. The Commission indicated already that it partially agrees with the opinion.
The Members of the EP voted for setting an upper limit of pain an animal can be subjected to, as well as for the creation of new EU & Member State facilities to develop alternatives to animal testing. They also voted for extending the scope of the law to include protection for some but not all invertebrate and fetal animals currently used in labs but not covered by the law. Other important issues were:
- MEPs voted for extending the scope of the law to include basic medical research on animals, meaning all EU animal experiments would be regulated by law.
- MEPs voted against stricter limits on re-use of animals in successive experiments and against restricting experiments on monkeys to avoid their use in non-essential experiments not involving life-threatening or debilitating human conditions.
- MEPs voted against planned and time-tabled phase-out of monkey use over time or a phase out of F1 generation monkeys (offspring of wild-caught parents) and also against mandatory central authorisation and ethical & scientific evaluation of all animal experiments before an animal-use license is granted (authorisation and ethical review at institutional level acdepted for many experiments).
- MEP's voted for a ban on the use of great apes (unless in exeptional and unforseen circumstances) - the Commissions position was retained.
For more information visit the EP website.