Report on Directive 86/609 on the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes

November 18, 2002

Brussels, 15 Nov 2002

FINAL A5-0387/2002 13 November 2002
REPORT on Directive 86/609 on the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes
Full text

[...] Differing Standards Across Member States

It has become apparent that standards differ across Member States on several aspects of implementation and enforcement of Directive 86/609 . Animal welfare would appear to have a different degree of importance in some Member States with the result that the authorisation, monitoring and the review of experimental projects differs within. Whilst some Member States attempt to regulate and enforce their national legislation through ad hoc inspector visits to facilities where experiments are undertaken, other have implemented the Directive in a far more far less stringent manner. The harmonisation of standards has obviously failed in this respect, and any review of Directive 86/609 should strive not only to ensure the lowest standards are raised, but also that all Member States progress to a more efficient level of monitoring animal experimentation.

The three Rs - Replacement, Reduction and Refinement approach to animal experimentation as defined by Russell and Burch, now plays a more important role when the European Union debates the subject. And whilst this is to be welcomed, it is essential that the approach be one that is accepted and equally applied in all Member States. Far from reducing experiments, the fact that experiments are being duplicated demonstrates that the principle of Reduction is not being followed, nor is the provision against unnecessary duplication of experiments in Directive 86/609 being adhered to.

Scope of Directive 86/609

One contentious issue since this Directive was passed has been that not all animals are covered by its provision. Since 1986, there have been major developments in the field of animal experimentation - one of these has been the unforeseen yet substantial increase in the number of transgenic animals being created and used. That a Directive intended to regulate the use of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes does not include all animals which are experimented upon is inadmissible. Transgenic animals should be included in any revision of Directive 86/609 as should all animal forms - including embryonic and foetal forms and beings with the capability to feel pain - such as Cephalopods and Decapods. The acceptable criterion for regulation should be susceptibility to pain. Experiments should also not be undertaken.

It is censurable that the scope of this Directive also omits experiments undertaken by certain bodies or institutions, and as a result, millions of animals used annually in education and basic scientific research remain unaccounted for. Given recent debate about the ethics of animal experimentation for educational purposes, this is an area of the Directive that needs urgent attention. The future of experiments on non-human primates needs also to reconsidered. [...]

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy - Rapporteur: Jillian Evans

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