Call for coordinated and concrete policies to advance non-animal science


Call for coordinated and concrete policies to advance non-animal science

24 April 2024
Every year on 24 April, World Day for Animals in Laboratories serves as a stark reminder of the millions of animals used in scientific research around the globe. At present, we are faced with a critical decision: whether to perpetuate existing policies that neither incentivise the development and uptake of innovative non-animal technologies nor lead to significant reductions in the number of animals used for scientific purposes, or to implement coordinated and concrete policies and mechanisms that empower stakeholders to embrace non-animal technologies.

In response to growing calls from Members of the European Parliament, EU agencies, citizens, academia and industry for a transition towards more biologically-relevant non-animal approaches, the European Commission took action in 2023. It committed to develop a roadmap to phase out the use of animals for chemical safety assessment, and to explore the possibility of a European Research Area (ERA) action to accelerate the development, validation and uptake of non-animal approaches in biomedical research and testing of pharmaceuticals.

These two initiatives represent significant opportunities to establish the necessary policies and mechanisms at EU level to accelerate the transition to non-animal science. The roadmap will serve as a framework for coordinating concrete actions  to move away from animal testing in the context of the EU chemicals legislation. In doing so, it will set a precedent for other policy areas that still rely on the use of animals. 

An ERA action has the potential to foster increased collaboration and coordination between Member States, and to identify specific areas where animal use can be avoided and where investments should be directed to advance non-animal technologies. It can also improve access to essential infrastructure for non-animal research, and facilitate the development of harmonised education and training programmes. This will ensure that students, educators, researchers and regulators are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively advance innovative non-animal approaches to address scientific challenges. 

Eurogroup for Animals and its member organisations call on all stakeholders, including policy makers, scientists, industry, regulators and funders, to join forces to develop and implement forward-looking policies and mechanisms in order to move towards a future where humans, animals and the environment are better protected.

Today, we also take the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the recent achievements of several of our member organisations in advancing human-based science:

  • LAV is currently involved in legal proceedings against a contract research organisation in Italy which carries out tests on animals, including dogs and non-human primates. Following complaints from LAV, the Italian authorities carried out an inspection which revealed numerous irregularities. As a result, the former director and veterinarian were charged with mistreatment and unnecessary killing. The authorities seized all the dogs and non-human primates



  • Doctors Against Animal Experiments (DAAE) engaged with 800 political decision-makers to request the correct transposition of Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes into German law. Furthermore, DAAE granted two Herbert Stiller Research Prizes to advance animal-free research. 


  • The RSPCA ran an event with the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) to discuss steps that the industry is taking to avoid, replace and reduce animal use, and opportunities for further progress. The RSPCA also launched their AWERB Directory, collating key resources to help institutional Animal Welfare (and Ethical Review) Bodies effectively challenge whether and how animals are used in research and testing. Furthermore, the RSPCA organised its third annual Focus on Fish event to share knowledge and ideas for reducing the suffering and improving the welfare of fishes used in science, as well as their fifth international meeting promoting practical approaches for avoiding and reducing 'severe' suffering


  • GAIA contacted the Brussels and Walloon Ministers for Animal Welfare to encourage the establishment and implementation of an action plan to replace and reduce animal testing, similar to the Flemish Action Plan, in their respective regions. In its response, the Brussels Minister announced that a five-year strategy to reduce animal experimentation will be included in the Brussels Animal Welfare Code. 


  • Djurens Rätt submitted 27,847 signatures to urge the Swedish government to reinstate dedicated funding for the Swedish 3R Centre.



  • Humanimal Trust published an updated edition of Humanimal, a children’s book focusing on the similarities between humans and animals. Moreover, Humanimal Trust also launched the First Global Creative Awards for children and young minds in order to captivate a broad audience with the concept of One Medicine via creative media, as well as online One Medicine Webinar series showcasing where collaboration between human and veterinary medical professionals can deliver better health for all species.


  • Menschen für Tierrechte (People for Animal Rights Germany, PARG) joined forces with the Berlin Greens to make "Animal-free Research Methods Development'' a mandatory component of all relevant undergraduate courses offered at universities in Berlin. In addition, PARG also published an extensive University Guide that provides comprehensive information for studying life science subjects without the use of animals. PARG's initiative "Exit from Animal Testing. NOW!" lead a government action plan and a commitment of two million euros for the development of a strategy aimed at reducing animal testing.


  • Animalfree Research launched a petition calling on the Swiss Parliament and the Federal Council to make a binding commitment and establish a concrete plan to gradually phase out harmful animal experiments, and take measures to systematically evaluate the benefits of state-funded research involving animal experiments and publish these results on a regular basis. Furthermore, Animalfree Research organised a forum on advancing personalised medicine with animal-free research.