The EU is going to strive to replace animal experimentation and testing with alternative methods. In the future it will be illegal to experiment on gorillas, orangutangs and other great apes, as well as on animals captured in the wild. This was promised by Environmental Commissioner Stavros Dimas this evening in a seminar entitled “Progress Without Pain,” organized by Jens Holm, MEP, GUE/NGL (the Left Party of Sweden). Dimas promised that the proposals will be the pillars of a new version of the animal experimentation directive 86/609, due to be presented by the European Union Commission this spring.
“It’s good that the EU intends to reduce the number of experiments and tests conducted on animals. Now it’s time to act, because animal experimentation is steadily increasing in the EU. This is unacceptable,” says Jens Holm.
“Dimas did not say exactly how animal experimentation will be reduced. I want concrete reduction goals set up, for example, for different sectors. This is what I will be trying to achieve when the issue comes before the European Parliament,” Holms continues.
“I will also be working to get the EU to adopt a plan for the phasing out of all animal experimentation and testing on monkeys and the budgeting of more resources for alternatives to animal experimentation,” he says.
According to new statistics from the Commission, over 12 million animals are used in experiments and testing in the EU every year. Between 2004 and 2005, the most recent years for which statistics are available, the number increased by fully 300,000 animals. The leading countries in animal experimentation and testing are France (2.1 million animals), Great Britain (1.9 million) and Germany (1.8 million). In Sweden, approximately 500,000 animals annually are killed in research and testing, a number that has been increasing in recent years.
In addition to Stavros Dimas, four researchers who carry out their research with alternatives to animal experimentation spoke at the conference “Progress Without Pain: Alternatives to Animal Experiments.”