Stop Vivisection European Citizens’ Initiative on the repeal of Directive on laboratory animals

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.


Background: ECI

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. 


Commission asks Finland to act on bird protection

Through its hunting legislation, Finland has authorised hunting of the Eider males (a bird waterfowl specie) during their reproductive period, which is strictly forbidden under the Birds Directive. The Directive allows only the hunting of these birds only outsides of breeding or spring migration season.

Already on 22 November 2012, the EU Commission sent a letter of formal notice (first step of the infringement procedure) to Finland. Now, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion (second step of the infringement procedure). If Finland fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice.

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Belgium: Animal Park Planckendael euthanized redundant animals

A young antelope and two buffalos have been euthanized last month at the Animal Park Planckendael.

The Animal Park Planckendael has declared that it felt impelled to euthanize the surplus animals which cannot be sheltered due to shortage of space. Two buffalos and a young horned antelope have been euthanized and fed to other animals of the zoo. The issue with male animals of this species is that they cannot live with other males in one compound.

The Royal Society of Zoology of Antwerp (KMDA), owner of the Animal Park Planckendael announced that euthanasia is the last resort and that there is increasing effort to return redundant animals to resorts in African countries.

This is particularly criticized by animal rights activists as scimitar-horned antelope is an endangered species that is scarcely living in the wild anymore.

A similar case occurred last year, when the Copenhagen zoo euthanized Marius, a healthy giraffe and fed it to lions. The Copenhagen zoo had, for that procedure, brought out arguments similar to the ones maintained by the Animal Park Planckendael.


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ECHR: information on management of stray dogs by public authorities are of general interest and should be freely accessible


Today, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has given a judgment regarding Bulgarian stray dogs and the right to acccess to information of Animal Welfare NGOs.


Summary of Facts:

In the case Guseva v/ Bulgaria, the applicant, an animal welfare NGO is complaining about the refusal of the municipality of Vidin to provide information about an agreement concluded between the municipality and the municipal company “Cleanliness” EOOD, for the collecting of stray animals on the territory of Vidin municipality.

Facing the refusal of the mayor of the municipality, the organisation has started a legal complaint.

One year later, the same organisation asked to the municipality of Vidin information concerning the annual statistics for 2001 and 2002 about animals held in an animal shelter called “Municipal Care". Once again, the municipality refused to provide the requested information.

In a third demand, few months laters, the animal welfare organisation asked for information regarding public procurement procedure which had been organised by the mayor and aimed at reducing the number of stray dogs in Vidin. The applicant wanted to know the number of the organisations which had tendered for a contract with the municipality, which ones had passed the pre-selection stage, and – in respect of those who have – the following information: the type and number of qualified staff they employed; the infrastructure and facilities they had for humane catching and transportation of dogs; the proof they had presented for their capacity to deliver quality services; and, the price they asked for providing the services. Once again, the municipality refused to provide the requested information.


The procedure in front of the Court

After several complaints and legal procedures with no real result, the applicants decided to make an appeal in front of the Court of Human Rights for infringement of its right to information and to its right to obtain an effective remedy.

The Court concludes to the violation by Bulgaria of Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 13 (Right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention of Human Rights. The State of Bulgaria will have to cover the applicant's justice fees and also to pay a remedy of 5,000€.

The Court based its judgment on the fact that information regarding the management of stray animals by the public authorities are information of general interest, meaning that anyone should be able to acceed to this information.


Please read the full text of the judgment on


102 million of unduly spent Euros by Greece, Ireland and Slovenia will have to be reimbursed to the EU

A total of €102 million of EU agricultural policy funds, unduly spent by Member States, is being claimed back by the European Commission from Greece, Ireland and Slovenia under the so-called clearance of accounts procedure. This money returns to the EU budget because of non-compliance with EU rules or inadequate control procedures on agricultural expenditure. Member States are responsible for paying out and checking expenditure under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and the Commission is required to ensure that Member States have made correct use of the funds.

Official press release:


The Netherlands taken to the Court for failure to enforce the Directive on animal in experiments

On October 16th, the EU Commission has referred the Netherlands to the European Court of Justice over its failure to enact EU legislation on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (Directive 2010/63/EU). Member States should have implemented this Directive into their national legislation for November 2012 and the Directive should have produced all its effect at the latest on January 1st 2013.

The Dutch government was already warned several time by the EU Commission, and promised that it will implement the Directive for January 2014. But finally, in reason of complications during the legislative process, the law hasn't been adopted yet. Therefore, the EU Commission decided to continue the infringement procedure opened in 2013, and brought the Case to the EU Court of Justice. The European Commission is asking the Court to impose penalty payments of EUR 51 156 per day until the law is enacted


Poland could be the next Country to be referred to the Court for failure to implement this Directive. Indeed, on the same day (October 16th), the EU Commission adressed to Poland a reasonned opinion (2nd step of the infringement procedure). If Poland fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the EU Court of Justice.


Please read more on the enforcement of Directive 2010/63/EU on

Read the official press release here:


Martin Schulz has been re-elected as President of the European Parliament

With an absolute majority of 409 votes, Martin Schulz has been re-elected as President of the European Parliament.

The President of the EU Parliament has for mission to oversee all the work of the Parliament and its constituent bodies (Bureau and Conference of Presidents), as well as the debates in plenary.

The President is the representative of Parliament in legal affairs and in all external relations. He delivers an opinion on all major international issues and makes recommendations designed to strengthen the European Union.

Moreover, with the President of the Council, the EU Parliament has to sign all legislative acts adopted under ordinary legislative procedure by the EU Parliament. 


For more information on the role of the EU Parliament's President:


Animals in experiments: a reasoned opinion was sent to Hungary today

Today, EU Commission has announced that a reasoned opinion (second step of the infringement procedure) has been sent to Hungary regarding the transposition of the Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

The deadline for transposition of this Directive was planned for 10 November 2012.

Continue reading Animals in experiments: a reasoned opinion was sent to Hungary today


Laying Hens Directive Infringement procedures: Greece and Italy brought before the EU Court of Justice




Brussels, 26 April 2013,

On 25th April 2013, the EU Commission announced that Greece and Italy will be refered before the EU Court of Justice for infringement of Directive 1999/74/EC ("the laying hens directive"). This is the last step of the infringement procedure laid down by Article 258 TFEU.

Continue reading Laying Hens Directive Infringement procedures: Greece and Italy brought before the EU Court of Justice