Voices of protesters for and against animal testing are once again about to rise. On March 3rd, the Stop Vivisection European Citizen’s Initiative was submitted to the European Commission, after collecting almost 1,2 million signatures. The goal of this initiative – only the 3rd one to be successful since the launch of the citizen’s initiative programme – is to tackle an existing European directive (2010/63/EU) on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, “and to present a new proposal that does away with animal experimentation”. The initiative will now be presented to the European Parliament during a public hearing, before the Commission decides on this issue in June.
It is clear that research using animals has enabled major advances – both for human and veterinary benefit – and “has contributed to the development of nearly every type of treatment used in medical and veterinary practice today”. In addition, at the core of the directive 2010/63/EU are the “3Rs”, that must be considered when using animals in research:
- Replacement: when available, alternative techniques must be implemented
- Reduction: the number of animals used for research must be lowered
- Refine: minimising animal suffering must be a priority
Despite great efforts to limit animal resort in research, alternatives cannot always be found, and such research remains crucial to advance human and animal health in Europe and beyond.
In response to this initiative, the European Brain Council wants to express its full support to retain the directive 2010/63/EU, and will work on behalf of its members to be heard by the European Commission and European Parliament to prevent this initiative to progress any further.
In addition, the EBC also appeals to patient organisations, scientific societies and industry partners to join the 120 and more organisations that have already signed ajoint statement, get involved in this matter, in order to reach as many stakeholders as possible, and convince them of the necessity to overrule the Stop Vivisection initiative.