12 February 2013
Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE)
Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union stipulates that, ‘since animals are sentient beings, the Union and the Member States must pay full regard to their welfare requirements’. This recognises the fundamental rights of animals, which should be recognised and preserved as a matter of priority within the EU and its Member States.
Animal testing should therefore be regarded as an unacceptable practice, not just from an ethical point of view (shared by over 86% of EU citizens, according to a survey carried out by the Commission in 2006) but also from a scientific one. The scientific community considers that animal research is not able to predict solutions for humans and questions its effectiveness and reliability. Vivisection is therefore seen as a danger to the health of human beings and to the environment, as well as an obstacle to possible advances in new research and development techniques which can be far safer for animals as well as humans.
1. Does the Commission intend to ignore the opinion of over half the EU’s citizens?
2. Is the Commission considering repealing Directive 2010/63/EU?
3. Is the Commission considering including the principle of the 3Rs in this directive?
4. What measures does it propose for the development, validation and use of new techniques to provide an alternative to animal testing?
5. Could the Commission provide some form of encouragement to research centres and enterprises to abandon vivisection and use new development techniques?
Answer given by Mr Potočnik on behalf of the Commission
25 March 2013
1. Directive 2010/63/EU(1) is the result of a thorough impact assessment, scientific input, a public survey, negotiations with all concerned stakeholders including animal welfare NGOs, academia and industry, and finally negotiations within the Parliament and the Council during the co-decision procedure.2. The Commission is not considering repealing Directive 2010/63/EU.3. In line with Article 13 of the TFEU, the Principle of the 3Rs forms the cornerstone of the directive. All animal breeding and use in the area of science must be carried out in accordance with this Principle (Articles 1, 4, 13 and recitals 10-13).4. There has been a continuous effort over many years at EU level to find alternative approaches that avoid testing on animals wherever possible. These efforts have been increased under Directive 2010/63/EU which inter alia requires the establishment of a EU reference laboratory for the development of alternative methods, and for Member States to appoint a contact person to provide advice on the regulatory relevance of alternative methods proposed for validation, identify and nominate suitable and qualified laboratories for validation studies and ensure the promotion of alternative approaches and the dissemination of information at a national level. Under the directive 2010/63/EU alternative methods recognised by the legislation of the Union must be used.5. The directive obliges all users of animals to apply the 3Rs where possible, and when an alternative method or approach is recognised by the legislation of the Union this is a clear legal obligation.
(1) On the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, Text with EEA relevance, OJ L 276, 20.10.2010, p. 33‐79.