MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on a coordinated Union-level Action Plan to facilitate the transition to innovation without the use of animals in research, regulatory testing and education
8.9.2021 - (2021/2784(RSP))
pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure
on behalf of The Left Group
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0425/2021
European Parliament resolution on a coordinated Union-level Action Plan to facilitate 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,
– 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,
– 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), establishing a European Chemicals Agency (the ‘REACH Regulation’),
– 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,
– 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,
– having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on cosmetic products,
– 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 report of 5 February 2020 on the implementation of Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes in the Member States of the European Union (COM(2020)0015),
– 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 ‘Towards Sustainability’: the European Community Programme of policy and action in relation to the environment and sustainable development (better known as The Fifth EC Environmental Action Programme) of 1993,
– having regard to its resolution of 10 July 2020 on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability,
– having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal,
– having regard to its resolution of 3 May 2018 on a global ban to end animal testing for cosmetics,
– 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 the key conclusions from the citizens’ dialogues and citizens’ consultations of April 2019,
– 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 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 no marked reduction in the overall number of animals used for scientific purposes over the past 11 years;
B. whereas in the EU, around 10 million animals, including, non-human primates, dogs, cats, birds, mice, rats, rabbits and fish are used for scientific purposes every year; whereas these animals often undergo very painful experiments, and whereas despite minimum standards, cruel practices still take place within the Union; whereas the trend has shown little to no improvement, and in many Member States the number of animal tests is even increasing; whereas in a single year 12 million animals are bred and killed for the purpose of animal testing, without being used in actual experiments;
C. whereas the toolbox of non-animal models has grown, and has 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 and other modern models and technologies;
D. whereas animal experiments are often not reproducible and rarely deliver on their promises to improve human health;
E. whereas the European 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;
F. 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 and well below the level of funding for research that makes use of animals in science;
G. whereas the Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has publicly stated that we will still need to use animal testing tools in the EU for the next 40 years, and by doing so did not reflect the current state of affairs, opposed legislation and undermined all efforts to ban animal experiments;
H. whereas European citizens have consistently demonstrated support for an end to the use of animals for scientific purposes;
I. whereas within the Commission, the Directorates-General for the Environment (DG ENV), for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) and the Joint Research Centre (DG JRC) all have responsibilities for different aspects of animal research and testing, but there is no formal coordination mechanism to ensure an active, coherent and synergistic approach to achieving the full replacement of animals;
J. whereas the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) have put in place strategies to actively reduce and replace animal tests; whereas, however, the ECHA does not have a reduction and replacement strategy;
K. 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 researchers have associated this high failure rate to the use of animal and simple in vitro models; whereas this means that not only medications that appear safe and effective in animal studies fail in humans, but that there are also drugs that would help humans but are discarded because they fail in tests on animals;
L. whereas the position adopted by the Commission and ECHA on the relationship between REACH and the Cosmetics Regulation means that there is still animal testing for ingredients exclusively used in cosmetics;
M. whereas to date there has been no assessment by the Commission of the expected impact on the number of animals used for scientific purposes of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability;
N. whereas undercover investigations and whistle-blowers have revealed that dogs, pigs, rabbits, mice, rats and monkeys were systematically tortured in Vivotecnia in Spain, and LPT in Germany;
O. whereas for the production of pregnant mare serum gonadotropin, also called equine chorionic gonadotropin, (PMSG/eCG), some Member States are allowing commercial blood collection, which is classified as an animal experiment and associated with high-volume draining of blood from pregnant horses, with related animal welfare and health issues; whereas the issuing of permits for systematic animal experiments which are not indispensable is contrary to the objective of replacing the use of animals in procedures as laid down in Directive 2010/63/EU; whereas alternatives that replace PMSG/eCG are available, such as synthetic hormones or by zootechnical measures;
P. whereas the replacement of animal tests by advanced non-animal methods will be crucial to achieving the Commission’s ambitious health and environmental goals set out in the Next GenerationEU recovery plan and the European Green Deal;
Q. whereas targeted funding, education, broad collaboration, smart approaches, concrete targets and coordinated actions are key to making innovative, advanced non-animal models and technologies the new normal;
1. Reiterates its commitment to the ultimate goal of fully replacing the use of animals for scientific purposes, and stresses that further dedicated actions are needed to achieve this goal;
2. Calls on the Commission to establish a high-level inter-service taskforce to work involving Member States, its agencies and relevant stakeholders in order to draw up an EU-wide action plan to accelerate the active phase-out of the use of animals for scientific purposes;
3. Underlines that this action plan should include ambitious yet achievable objectives and reduction targets, a binding and ambitious timeline with concrete targets, and the aim of ending all animal experiments by 2030;
4. Emphasises that the plan should contain concrete and coordinated actions that will lead to rapid, absolute and sustained reductions in the number of animals used for scientific purposes;
5. Calls for the plan to include, inter alia, proposals for better implementation and enforcement of current initiatives;
6. Highlights that the plan should include mechanisms for preferential funding and use of non-animal methods in all EU research and innovation initiatives; reiterates its call to provide resources for staff within ECHA exclusively dedicated to animal protection and the promotion of non-animal methods across all ECHA activities;
7. Urges the Commission to work together with Member States to include a series of actions to educate, train and retrain researchers and technicians in the use of advanced non-animal models;
8. Calls on the Commission to set ambitious objectives in consultation with relevant agencies through a more proactive implementation of current regulations on the safety of chemicals and other products;
9. Calls on the Commission to ensure inter-agency alignment by establishing a dialogue on the regulatory use of non-animal models in anticipation of the ‘one substance - one assessment’ approach, and to ensure a sufficient share of the agencies’ budgets is allocated to these models;
10. Emphasises that deepening the European Research Area should include phasing out the use of animals as a priority action;
11. 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, but emphasises that all companies need to get involved in phasing out animal testing;
12. Welcomes the European Citizens Initiative ‘Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics - Commit to a Europe without animal testing’, which calls on Commission to protect and strengthen the cosmetics animal testing ban, transform the EU Chemicals Regulation and to put forward a concrete plan to transition to non-animal science;
13. Stresses that policy actions, such as the announced revision of the REACH Regulation and Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, should fully involve Parliament through co-decision and should include phasing out the use of animals as priority action;
14. Is shocked and deeply worried about atrocities against animals revealed by undercover investigations and whistle-blowers in several EU laboratories, despite so-called good laboratory practices and checks by Member States; is concerned that official inspections fail to guarantee the well-being of animals in EU laboratories; calls on the Member States to step up their enforcement efforts;
15. Is concerned that experiments that are forbidden in the EU are being performed by EU companies and scientists in third countries, such as cruel experiments on non-human primates in Mauritius; calls on the Commission to take action to end this export of animal experiments;
16. Calls on the Commission and Member States to halt the import and production of PMSG/eCG and replace its use with animal-friendly alternatives;
17. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission and the parliaments of the Member States.
-  OJ L 276, 20.10.2010, p. 33.
-  OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 1.
-  OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 1.
-  OJ L 167, 27.6.2012, p. 1.
-  OJ L 342, 22.12.2009, p. 59.
-  Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0201.
-  Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0005.
-  OJ C 41, 6.2.2020, p. 45.
-  https://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/lab_animals/reports_en.htm
-  https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/eurl/ecvam/knowledge-sharing-3rs/life-science-research
-  https://chemicalwatch.com/275371/echa-head-we-are-40-years-away-from-effective-predictive-toxicology
-  https://europa.eu/citizens-initiative/initiatives/details/2012/000007_en
-  Knight, Jean, Costanza Rovida, Reinhard Kreiling, Cathy Zhu, Mette Knudsen, and Thomas Hartung. . ‘Continuing Animal Tests on Cosmetic Ingredients for REACH in the EU’. ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation, August 2021. https://doi.org/10.14573/altex.2104221.
-  https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/what-we-do/investigations/toxicity-testing-animals-vivotecnia-spain
-  https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/unlawful-dog-and-monkey-suffering-uncovered-european-laboratory
-  https://www.eurogroupforanimals.org/campaigns/eci-save-cruelty-free-cosmetics
-  https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/what-we-do/breaking-news/mauritius-gives-go-ahead-animal-experiments