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Law Tightens On Animal Experiments

  • September 10th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

cat-and-litter.jpgA new law passed by the European Parliament this week (8.9.10) is to reduce the use of animals in scientific experiments.


The legislation, negotiated between the Parliament and the European Council, will require national authorities in the 27 EU member states to assess the animal welfare implications of each experiment done.

The aim will be to promote alternative testing methods and reduce the levels of pain that is inflicted; with a balance between amply meeting the needs of science and protecting animals.

A separate section of the legislation bans outright the use of great apes such as chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orang-utans for scientific testing.

monkeys.jpgIt also tightens up rules on using other primates, by including them in a classification of tests according to severity and detailing inspections needed to ensure compliance.


The use of animals in scientific experiments is allowed for basic research and for research into human, animal or plant diseases, drug testing and species preservation, and also for higher education and forensic investigations.

With the agreement of the European Commission, governments may get exemptions from the new law in cases that are “scientifically justifiable” and for emergencies.

They will have two years to phase in the change, to include a thorough inspections system.

The law includes:

National authorities  must assess the animal welfare implications of each experiment

Alternative testing methods are to be applied, towards reducing the levels of pain inflicted, with a schedule of different categories of pain –“non-recovery”, “mild”, “moderate” or “severe”.

All Member States must ensure that whenever an alternative method is recognised by Community law it, is used instead of animal testing.

In addition, approval should be granted only to tests with killing methods that cause the least pain or distress, while still providing scientifically satisfactory results.

To avoid repeated suffering, it is proposed to allow the same animals to be re-used only if the test entails pain classed as “up to mild”.


European Parliament, Strasbourg, “Fewer animals to be used for scientific experiments”, 8.9.10., (10.9.10).