Motion for a resolution - B9-0425/2021Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on plans and actions to accelerate the transition to innovation without the use of animals in research, regulatory testing and education


to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission
pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Mohammed Chahim, Paolo De Castro, Jytte Guteland
on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0425/2021

Procedure : 2021/2784(RSP)
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Motion for a European Parliament resolution on plans and actions to accelerate the transition to innovation without the use of animals in research, regulatory testing and education

The European Parliament,

 having regard to Articles 13 and 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

 having regard to Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2010 on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes[1],

 having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)[2],

 having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC[3],

 having regard to Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2012 concerning the making available on the market and use of biocidal products[4],

 having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on cosmetic products[5],

 having regard to the Council conclusions of 15 March 2021 entitled ‘Sustainable Chemicals Strategy of the Union: Time to Deliver’ (6941/21),

 having regard to the Commission report of 5 February 2020 on the statistics on the use of animals for scientific purposes in the Member States of the European Union in 2015-2017 (COM(2020)0016),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 30 September 2020 on a new ERA for Research and Innovation (COM(2020)0628),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 25 November 2020 on a Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe (COM(2020)0761),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 entitled ‘The European Green Deal’ (COM(2019)0640),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 27 May 2020 entitled ‘Europe’s moment: Repair and Prepare for the Next Generation’ (COM(2020)0456),

 having regard to its resolution of 10 July 2020 on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability[6],

 having regard to Special Eurobarometer 340 on Science and Technology,

 having regard to the second interim report on the online consultation on the Future of Europe and to the key conclusions from the citizens’ dialogues and citizens’ consultations,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 3 June 2015 on the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Stop Vivisection’ (C(2015)3773),

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes sets out the final goal of the ‘full replacement of procedures on live animals ... as soon as it is scientifically possible to do so’ and whereas it underlines that the use of animals for such purposes should only be considered where a non-animal method is unavailable; whereas, however, there has been little change in the overall number of animals used for scientific purposes over the past 11 years;

B. whereas the Directive requires transparency in the use of animals in science and applies to the use of animals in all disciplines, from basic research to applied research, the development of medicines and the safety testing of chemicals; whereas all Member States have enacted it in national legislation and whereas all sector-specific pieces of legislation, such as those pertaining to pharmaceuticals, food or chemicals, must be in line with the objectives of the Directive, meaning that the use of animals should only occur if there are no suitable alternatives;

C. whereas the toolbox of non-animal testing models is growing and shows the potential to enhance our understanding of diseases and accelerate the discovery of effective treatments; whereas this toolbox includes, for example, new organ-on-chip technology, sophisticated computer simulations, 3-D cultures of human cells for drug testing and other modern models and technologies;

D. whereas the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has launched a series of reports listing and describing advanced non-animal models in seven disease areas with a view to accelerating the development of these technologies; whereas, however, EU research, innovation and education initiatives are not yet aligned with the priorities identified in these reviews;

E. whereas, while formal encouragement for non-animal methods is unique to the EU, there are bureaucratic hurdles to their acceptance, their use is not properly enforced and funding for their development remains inadequate;

F. whereas European citizens have consistently demonstrated support for an end to the use of animals for scientific purposes;

G. whereas within the Commission, the Directorates-General for Environment, for Health and Food Safety, for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, for Research and Innovation and for JRC all have responsibilities for different areas of animal research and testing and whereas there is no formal coordination mechanism to ensure an active, coherent and synergy-based approach to achieving the full replacement of animals;

H. whereas the European Food Safety Authority and the European Medicines Agency have put in place strategies to actively reduce and replace animal tests, but the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) does not have a reduction and replacement strategy;

I. whereas the US National Institutes of Health state that ‘Therapeutic development is a costly, complex and time-consuming process. The average length of time from target discovery to approval of a new drug is about 14 years. The failure rate during this process exceeds 95 percent, and the cost per successful drug can be $1 billion or more’, and whereas researchers have associated this high failure rate with the use of animal and simple in vitro models; whereas this means that not only do medications that appear safe and effective in animal studies fail in humans, but also that there are drugs that could help humans but are discarded because they fail in tests on animals;

J. whereas the position adopted by the Commission and ECHA on the relationship between REACH and the Cosmetics Regulation means that there is continued animal testing for ingredients exclusively used in cosmetics;

K. whereas there has been no assessment to date by the Commission of the expected impact of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability on the number of animals used for scientific purposes;

L. whereas the replacement of animal tests by advanced non-animal methods will be crucial in achieving the Commission’s ambitious health and environmental goals set out in the NextGenerationEU recovery plan and the European Green Deal;

1. Calls on the Commission to improve coordination on this issue by establishing a high-level inter-service taskforce, involving all key Directorates-General, to work with the Member States and relevant stakeholders in order to draw up an EU-wide action plan, based on a solid and science-based impact assessment, with the aim of driving the active phase-out of procedures on live animals for scientific purposes, while accelerating the development of alternative technologies and all of the instruments necessary for change;

2. Underlines that this action plan should include ambitious and achievable objectives in order to incentivise change, and concrete and coordinated actions that will lead to absolute and sustained reductions in the number of animals used across the EU for scientific purposes;

3. Stresses that the plan should include, inter alia, proposals for better implementation and enforcement of existing initiatives;

4. Highlights that the plan should build on research undertaken in the EU to date and include mechanisms for the preferential funding and use of non-animal methods across all EU research and innovation initiatives;

5. Urges the Commission to work together with Member States to include a series of actions to educate, train and retrain researchers and technicians in using advanced non-animal models and in sharing best practices;

6. Calls on the Commission to set reduction objectives in consultation with relevant agencies through a more proactive implementation of the current regulations on the safety of chemicals and other products;

7. Highlights that the private sector can be directly involved in the plan, in particular companies willing to switch to non-animal models, as well as start-ups developing and perfecting them, through participating in collaborative approaches to phasing out animal testing;

8. Emphasises that the plan to deepen the European Research Area should include concrete, achievable measures aimed at phasing out the use of animals as a long-term priority action;

9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.


Last updated: 13 September 2021
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