ANIMALS IN SCIENCE
OVER 11 MILLION ANIMALS – INCLUDING DOGS, RABBITS AND EVEN OUR CLOSEST GENETIC RELATIVES, PRIMATES – ARE USED IN LABORATORY RESEARCH AND TESTING THROUGHOUT EUROPE EVERY YEAR. WE WORK WITH LEGISLATORS, EXPERTS AND INDUSTRY TO ENSURE THEIR PROTECTION, WITH THE AIM OF ULTIMATELY REPLACING ALL ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS WITH VIABLE ALTERNATIVES.
We continue to actively promote the replacement, reduction and refinement of animal tests, and do all we can to improve the lives of those animals currently used for research, testing and education.
In the case of safety testing for cosmetics, chemicals and food, we have played a significant role in driving acceptance of the need to replace animal tests with non-animal alternatives.
PROTECTION OF ANIMALS USED IN SCIENTIFIC PROCEDURES
More than 11 million animals are used annually in the 28 Member States (based on a Commission report from 2013) for a variety of purposes, including safety testing of different substances – medicines, cosmetics, household products and chemicals – and for medical research into human diseases and conditions.
In addition to the testing process, the way the animals are kept from birth, before and during the procedures, and their housing conditions can cause considerable stress and suffering.
Alternative methods incorporate the 3Rs of replacement, reduction and refinement to minimise the use of animals.
One of our top priority actions is to focus on the development, validation and implementation of alternative testing methods that minimise the use of animals while delivering good scientific output in order to protect human health and environment.
Millions of animals are under the EU system for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances (REACH).
Existing chemicals as well as new ones need to be tested, often requiring many animals, for their effects on human health and the environment.
Pesticides are used to kill or control harmful organisms, but can also cause adverse effects on non-target organisms.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals widespread in the environment that interfere with the hormone system affecting human health and wildlife animals.
Modern biotechnologies are applied to animals for research purposes or to produce genetically altered (GA) animals. They are also used to develop artificial reproduction techniques (such as cloning) for the breeding of farm animals.
Nanotechnology is a fast developing research and production area in numerous fields, including biotechnology, medicines, cosmetic products and food.
Cosmetic products are still tested on animals to determine their safety. However, the pain, distress and suffering caused to animals used in cosmetics tests cannot be justified.
Cloning is a technique of artificial reproduction to create identical animals.
However, the cloning process is inefficient, wastes animal lives and has a huge potential to cause pain, suffering and distress at all stages of the process.
It also has very low success rates: 10% in cattle and 6% in pigs. In addition, cloning compounds the view of farm animals as commodities rather than sentient beings. EU consumers and citizens are against this technique to produce food.