Parliamentary questions
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18 December 2020
O-000084/2020
Question for oral answer  O-000084/2020
to the Commission
Rule 136
Tilly Metz (Verts/ALE), Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE), Eleonora Evi (Verts/ALE), Francisco Guerreiro (Verts/ALE), Sylwia Spurek (Verts/ALE), Jytte Guteland (S&D), Martin Buschmann (NI), Younous Omarjee (GUE/NGL), Alexis Georgoulis (GUE/NGL), Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL), Caroline Roose (Verts/ALE), Clare Daly (GUE/NGL), Emil Radev (PPE), Günther Sidl (S&D), Heidi Hautala (Verts/ALE), Jiří Pospíšil (PPE), Kira Marie Peter-Hansen (Verts/ALE), Annika Bruna (ID), Manuel Bompard (GUE/NGL), Manuela Ripa (Verts/ALE), Margrete Auken (Verts/ALE), Marie Toussaint (Verts/ALE), Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL), Michal Wiezik (PPE), Mick Wallace (GUE/NGL), Niels Fuglsang (S&D), Nikolaj Villumsen (GUE/NGL), Pär Holmgren (Verts/ALE), Pascal Durand (Renew), Petras Auštrevičius (Renew), Rosa D'Amato (Verts/ALE), Sarah Wiener (Verts/ALE), Thomas Waitz (Verts/ALE), Tiziana Beghin (NI), Veronika Vrecionová (ECR), Ville Niinistö (Verts/ALE)
 Subject: Concerted plans and actions to transition to innovation without the use of animals in the EU

Since 1993, the Commission has stated its commitment to reducing and replacing the use of animals in science. However, the latest statistics released by the Commission reveal only a slight decrease in the number of animals used for scientific purposes. In any case, this decrease is eclipsed by the additional 12 million animals who are bred for use in scientific research but killed without ever actually being used. Though Directive 2010/63/EU lays out basic rules on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, it does not provide a strategy for the reduction and replacement of these animals.

Conversely, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has pledged to ‘aggressively’ reduce animal testing, including removing requirements and funding for experiments on mammals by 2035. While the EU used to be the world leader in advancing animal-free science, there is now evidence that it is beginning to lag behind the ambition of several countries of developing and implementing road maps to phase out the use of animals in science by harnessing innovative non-animal technologies, revolutionising toxicity testing and biomedical research and improving outcomes for human health and the environment.

At the same time, the Next Generation EU gives a stronger commitment than ever to empowering innovation and renewing education. In view of this commitment and the unprecedented health and environmental challenges our Union is facing, it seems paramount to reinforce the Commission’s commitment to invest in innovative, human-relevant, non-animal science in all areas including research, education and regulatory testing.

The work of the EU Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing is showing, for example, where investments in innovative non-animal technologies can lead to the best models for investigating disease mechanisms and potential therapies.

The Chemical Strategy for Sustainability, launched as part of the European Green Deal, has ambitious targets for the protection of human health and the environment from hazardous effects of chemicals. Non-animal testing approaches will be crucial to achieving the Commission’s ambitious goals for predictive toxicological testing.

How will the Commission ensure that its R&I and education initiatives will be aligned with the commitments of the Commission and the Member States to accelerating a transition to non-animal science with the ultimate goal of totally replacing the use of animals in research, testing, and education?

How does the Commission intend to significantly reduce the use of animals under the REACH regulation, especially in the light of the new Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability?

Submitted: 18/12/2020

Lapses: 19/03/2021

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