update: the EU Commission will answer on 3.06.2015 on the follow up (or not) of the ECI
MEPs from Parliament's Agriculture, Public Health, Research and Petitions committees discussed with the European Citizens’ Initiative's (ECI) supporters and experts, which calls for the repeal of Directive 2010/63 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes in order to cease animal experimentation.
On Monday, 11th May 2015, Members of four Parliament's committees then discussed with organisers of the ECI, Mr Tamino, Mr Reiss and Mr André Ménache, as well as with experts in the field, Mr Ray Greek of Americans for Medical Advancement (AFMA), the 2008 Nobel prize laureate of Medicine or Physiology Ms Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Ms Emily McIvor from Humane Society International, the pros and cons of the call by the ECI petitioners to repeal of the Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes and thus stop animal experimentation.
The debate got quickly heated, as the positions varied especially on the suitability of animals as models for humans. Mr Greek, in particular, questioned the predictive value of animals for humans, and stated that there is no correspondence between their respective reactions in relation to bioavailability, toxicity nor drugs.
However, according to Ms Barré-Sinoussi, current technologies of in-vitro tests cannot reproduce all the interactions between tissues and organs, nevertheless the Nobel Prize winner called for the EU to invest more in the alternatives to animal testing in the future.
Mr Falkenberg, Director General of DG ENV of the European Commission recalled the EU regulatory framework, and quoted art. 4 of Directive 2010/63, which sets the Principle of replacement, reduction and refinement. Such principle imposes Member States to ensure that alternatives are used instead of animals, whenever they are appropriate: “Member States shall ensure that, wherever possible, a scientifically satisfactory method or testing strategy, not entailing the use of live animals, shall be used instead of a procedure” (art. 4(1) Directive 2010/63), where “procedure” indicates an animal testing method.
Now the European Commission has three months to analyse the initiative decide how to act upon it.
The European Citizens' Initiative allows 1 million citizens from at least a quarter of EU member states (7 out of 28) to ask the European Commission to propose legislation in areas that fall within its competence. Organisers of successful initiatives are invited to present their initiative at a public hearing in the European Parliament, before the legislative committee responsible for the subject matter.
"Stop Vivisection" was the third ECI hearing organised by the Parliament. The two ECI hearings that took place in the Parliament in the past were "Right2Water" (17 February 2014) and "One of us".
The organisers have gathered 1,173,130 signatures calling on the Commission to abrogate the Directive (2010/63/EU) on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes and put forward a new proposal aimed at phasing out the practice of animal experimentation.
Organisers of successful initiatives are invited to take part in a hearing at the European Parliament. The European Commission then has three months to examine the initiative and decide how to act upon it.