Brussels, 03 Dec 2002
UK MEP Jill Evans will present an own-initiative draft resolution calling for improvements in the protection of animals used for experiments and for a body to carry out random checks on laboratories, to the European Parliament on 4 December.
Ms Evans' report points out that the existing directive ( 86/609/EEC ) on this subject has not been satisfactorily implemented in all Member States and calls on the Commission to amend the directive by the end of 2003. The draft resolution calls for a central EU inspectorate to be established, with the power to conduct spot checks and revoke licences, and for a central database for approved experiments on animals to be set up.
The Parliament's Environment Committee believes that a review of the directive is needed and, in particular, that its scope needs to be aligned to that of the Council of Europe Convention, which also covers animals used for education and training purposes.
Among its recommendations, the committee says that Member States should be obliged to set up an ethical review procedure as part of the authorisation system for approving animal experiments. It also argues that ethically unacceptable animal experiments should be banned, such experiments, according to the committee, include the development and testing of chemical weapons and cosmetics and the use of wild-caught primates.
The draft resolution also says that licensing procedures should be made stricter. To obtain a licence to perform experiments on animals, the applicant must be able to prove that the experiments will be of benefit to animals or humans and that the desired outcome can only be achieved using live animals. There is also a need to set limits for the level of stress to which the animals may be subjected and to ensure that experiments are not authorised if they exceed those limits.