Brussels, 18 March 2003
The Council adopted a common position on a proposal for a Directive concerning the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes (doc. 5240/03 ). In accordance with the co-decision procedure, the common position will be forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading.
The proposal is aimed at ensuring the consistency of the Annexes to Directive 86/609/EC on the general care and accommodation of animals, with the latest scientific and technical developments and results of research within the fields concerned. The latter relate to, inter alia, the safety testing of drugs and foodstuffs, the diagnosis or treatment of disease and the protection of the natural environment in the interests of the health or welfare of man or animal.
Directive 86/609/EC on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States regarding the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes is the implementing instrument at Community level of the Council of Europe Convention for the protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes (ETS 123 of 18 March 1986).
The Council of Europe has opened for signature and ratification a "Protocol of Amendment" to the Convention which aims at introducing a simplified procedure to modify its provisions on animal accommodation and general care instead of the usual lengthy procedure which requires ratification by all Parties. This would allow the Convention to stay abreast of the latest scientific developments and knowledge on the welfare of animals kept in laboratories.
In order to bring the current Directive 86/609/EC in line with the "Protocol of Amendment" the proposed Directive provides for the replacement of the full Council-Parliament co-decision procedure with a regulatory committee. The committee should be set in accordance with Decision 99/468/EC which lays down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on to the Commission. This would allow for a more flexible and rapid introduction of changes to the Annexes to Directive 86/609/EC on the conditions of animal accommodation and general care.
The Council's common position introduces in the text of the proposal the standard wording as regards the comitology procedure.