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Parliamentary question - E-7240/2010(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Mr Potočnik on behalf of the Commission

On 8 September 2010 the Parliament adopted a new Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes to improve the welfare of experimental animals.

Although replacement of animal use has always been the ultimate goal of the Commission, at present, it is not possible to ban outright the use of animals for safety testing or biomedical research. The revision thus seeks to ensure that animals are used only where no other means are available. The Commission considers that the most pragmatic approach to reducing experiments on animals is to introduce alternative methods that eventually replace animal testing.

There has been a continuous effort at EU level to find alternative approaches that avoid testing on animals. Under the new Directive efforts will be increased in a number of ways. These include the strengthening of the European Centre for the validation of Alternative methods (ECVAM) which will in future also act as a focal point for the exchange of information on alternative methods and promote the dialogue between legislators, regulators, and all relevant stakeholders.

In addition, considerable effort is being made to add new alternative test methods to the Test Method Regulation as they become available. Under the revised Directive alternative methods recognised by EU legislation must be used. Over the last 20 years, the financial EU contribution to Three Rs research has amounted to some EUR 200 million. Finally, the Commission is promoting alternative methods internationally in both multilateral and bilateral fora.

OJ C 243 E, 20/08/2011