Animal testing laws to be beefed up

Conservative MEPs support proposals to make animal testing obsolete

The European Parliament has this week overwhelmingly backed tougher laws on animal.

The new legislation aims to create a framework in which animal testing for scientific ends can become obsolete by encouraging the development of better and cheaper methods. It will improve animal welfare without jeopardising indispensable medical experiments.

The new directive updates legislation from 1986. It promotes the ‘3Rs’ principles of replacement, refinement and reduction. By encouraging the development of alternatives, the directive sets the framework to allow the EU to move towards the end goal of a total abolition of animal experimentation.

However the report itself stops short of an outright ban on all animal experimentation for medical research, which would be both irresponsible and detrimental to human health at the current time. However, the Parliament did support a proposal for regular thematic reviews into primate tests to ensure that those tests which are not absolutely essential for medical research are phased out.

Sir Robert said:

“It is essential that we balance the need to reduce and eliminate animal testing with the need to ensure that high quality research for new medicines for human health continues.

“This directive sets the framework to allow us create an environment where animal testing is made redundant yet it will not impede scientists’ work in tackling debilitating and terminal medical conditions.

“This law will ensure that animal tests are carried out in the most humane way possible. The current law is over 20 years old and desperately needed updating.

“These proposals would mean that testing on animals - particularly primates - could only be conducted if there was a strong scientific case for doing so and a clear potential benefit to human health.

“We all look forward to the day when we no longer need any animal testing. This new law is intended to make that day come far sooner.”

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