Despite the resolution adopted by the majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the plenary session of the European Parliament, the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, has so far refused to implement significant steps toward a future without animal experiments.
Six months after the European Parliament’s landmark resolution calling for an action plan to phase out the use of animals in science, there is no evidence that the European Commission has made any advance on this. MEPs were clear that an Action Plan is needed at the European level for the active elimination of the animal model, and for encouraging a gradual replacement of the use of animals in lab experiments.
Jytte Guteland, MEP from Sweeden for the Social Democrats, said the following: “The Commission does not foresee any changes to the funding of projects that aim to use and/or further develop non-animal models under Horizon Europe, compared to the previous Framework Programme, H2020, which spent 0.5% of its total annual budget on the development of non-animal models. This is not the message we expected from a Commission that emphasises its aim of phasing out the use of animals in scientific procedures. The EU will not accelerate the transition to non-animal science with such a low commitment.”
Tilly Metz MEP (Greens/EFA, LU), President of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals, said: “Last September, the European Parliament took a strong stance for the phase-out of the use of animals in Science, so the response from the Commission was eagerly awaited. A good element of this response is the intention of strengthening the private-public European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing. This partnership is essential to provide advice and build consensus in targeted areas of regulatory testing. But we need more: The action plan needs to involve Members States and the wider academic and industry community; it needs to establish concrete milestones and objectives for sustainable reductions of regulatory animal testing, but also of animal-based research and education, where the majority of animals are used.”
The European Commission only provided a list of fragmented initiatives that could eventually lead to some reduction in animal use but is not taking steps to implement the requested action plan to phase out animal experiments. The European Parliament proposed establishing broader coordination groups with clear objectives and processes to monitor, evaluate, ensure progress, and adapt strategies where appropriate. However, this has not happened yet.