Saturday 26 May 2012

Animal Testing and European Directive (Directive 2010/63/EU)

I have seen the petition on the Care2 petition website. It is headlined, "Stop the UK Government from legalising the use of stray pets in lab experiments!" The petition basically says that the new legislation (law) created by the Commission of the European Union (EU) will have a detrimental impact on stray pets, and on animals generally, who are used in animal testing in the UK.

The new law is in the form of a directive. This is legislation that the institutions of the EU create and then hands out to members of the European Union who are then obliged to incorporate what is European law into national law. The UK is part of the EU.

When Europe creates new law on animal testing it is important for people who are concerned about animal welfare. Most of these people want animal testing stopped completely or a least controlled and restricted more severely and efficiently. It is an opportunity to improve animal welfare law. By "improve" I mean to reduce and restrict animal testing.

My personal view is that animal testing should be stopped completely. We have no right to harm animals and cause pain and suffering to them for our benefit. If stopping animal testing results in more humans suffering health problems, then I accept that.

EU directives are complicated and I am not sure that the author of the petition has it correct. In any case I have checked Directive 2010/63/EU and the section that refers to stray and feral cats. It is reproduced below and you can make your own minds up. I think the problem is that the new law does not go far enough to protect animals used in laboratories.

However, in general the declared purpose of Directive 2010/63/EU is to update the previous directive (1986 Directive 86/609/EEC). They say the aim is:

 "to strengthen legislation, and improve the welfare of those animals still needed to be used, as well as to firmly anchor the principle of the Three Rs, to Replace, Reduce and Refine the use of animals, in EU legislation."

Both directives are concerned with the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

Some selected sections are:

Principle of replacement, reduction and refinement

1. 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.

2. Member States shall ensure that the number of animals used in projects is reduced to a minimum without compromising the objectives of the project.

And for stray and feral cats the directive states:

Article 11

Stray and feral animals of domestic species

1. Stray and feral animals of domestic species shall not be used in procedures.

2. The competent authorities may only grant exemptions from paragraph 1 subject to the following conditions:

(a) there is an essential need for studies concerning the health and welfare of the animals or serious threats to the environment or to human or animal health; and

(b) there is scientific justification to the effect that the purpose of the procedure can be achieved only by the use of a stray or a feral animal.

I think the problem that concerns people is:
  1. That the introduction of new EU legislation was an opportunity to curb animal testing and the opportunity has been missed despite the fact the legislators say they have tightened the law and;
  2. The implementation of this EU law is down to the governments of the countries in the EU. How it is done concerns people because there appears to be a certain amount of leeway. Big business will take the opportunity to loosen control of animal testing where possible. There is considerable lobbying going on because the big companies are eager to retain animal testing and to stop further restrictions being implemented.
You can read more on these pages if you wish:

1 comment:

  1. I think animal testing is cruel and unessesary too. We probably won't give anything we discover (cures, health benifitting things etc.) to the animals, so why should we do tests on them to find these things?


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