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The BioIndustry Association (BIA) has welcomed the European Parliament vote in favour of revising EU Directive 86/609 – a law that protects animals used for scientific purposes. The Directive is being reviewed to ensure that it’s in line with technological advancements and to create better harmony throughout the European Union.
The BIA considers the Report, which was adopted by the Agriculture committee on 31 March 2009, to be an acceptable compromise, and a significant improvement on the Commission’s proposal of November 2008.
The report’s view of research represents a balanced proposal that considers both animal welfare and research needs, however further modifications are still required. The BIA has concerns over some aspects of the report which could be detrimental to research without benefitting welfare including:
• The inclusion of many non-sentient species such as minute invertebrates
• No international acceptance of alternative methods
• Mandatory cage sizes which, as currently drafted, would harm animal welfare and incur disproportionate costs.
Aisling Burnand, Chief Executive of the BIA, commented
“Research using animals is a small but vital part of the overall effort to develop new and better treatments to benefit patients across the world. The European Parliament has sent a clear message that this research should not be hindered with an overwhelming majority of MEPs voting in favour of the Agriculture Committee report. This represents significant progress towards the introduction of a revised directive that results in greater emphasis on the reduction, refinement and replacement of animals used for research purposes. At this stage, the report’s view of research represents a balanced proposal that considers both animal welfare and research needs, however further modifications are still required”
As the report moves into second reading, the BIA will continue to work with the Bioscience Stakeholder Group as well as with the European Institutions and the UK Government to help ensure the introduction of transparent and proportionate standards for the essential use of animals in medical research.