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Parliamentary question - E-002365/2012(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Mr Potočnik on behalf of the Commission

Today the safety of pharmaceutical products, medical devices, chemicals and other substances cannot be sufficiently determined with the available in vitro test methods. Animals, including non-human primates[1], are currently still needed for a number of vital research programmes on diseases such as HIV, malaria and hepatitis, and debilitating conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Animals are also needed for the development and safety testing of veterinary products.

Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes[2] which enters into force on 1 January 2013, fully revises and updates Directive 86/609/EEC incorporating the latest scientific knowledge as well as ethical considerations into the legal framework. It will strengthen, and significantly improve on the legislation currently in place in the EU. A number of measures will minimise as far as possible the use and suffering of animals, and considerably improves the housing and care of experimental animals. The use of non-human primates specifically is subject to further restrictions.

Directive 2010/63/EU states that stray and feral animals of domestic species should not be used in scientific procedures.

However, in some very exceptional cases, such as when investigating an affliction which is particular only to strays, it may be necessary to use them in a research study. As can be seen from the provisions of Articles 10 and 11 of the directive, this would be highly exceptional and always based on a clear case by case scientific (not e.g. an economic) justification.

Any other testing or research using dogs and cats can only be done with animals that have been specifically bred for scientific purposes.

OJ C 111 E, 18/04/2013