Stronger Legal Protections for Animals in Labs

Europe's new animal experiments directive is the new global state-of-the-art

Humane Society International

  • Dr Jane Goodall and HSI’s Emily McIvor speaking during our European Parliament event.

  • HSI joins with MEPs and EU animal welfare groups in presenting a 150,000-signature petition to the European Parliament calling for replacement of animal experiments in Europe.

  • Virtual avatars of celebs Brian May, Joanna Lumley, Ricky Gervais and Chrissie Hynde throw their weight behind our “Make Animal Testing History” campaign.

  • More than 100,000 European and global citizens participated in our cyber-rally.

In September 2010, the European Union voted to adopt a new law for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, which replaces its nearly 25-year-old predecessor. Humane Society International has been at the forefront of the animal welfare lobbying effort throughout political negotiations, calling for the EU to establish a world-leading Centre of Excellence in non-animal research to accelerate the development of more ethical and reliable research methods.

European Parliament event with Dr. Jane Goodall

In May 2008, HSI co-hosted an event in the European Parliament with the Dr. Hadwen Trust and world-renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall. During the event, HSI and other animal protection organisations presented the Parliament with a petition signed by 150,000 EU citizens, together with the joint HSI-DHT report, Towards a European Science Without Animal Experiments.

Cyber-rally to ‘Make Animal Testing History’

As the lobbying campaign on the new EU law escalated, FOUR PAWS joined forces with HSI and DHT in launching the world’s first rally in cyber-space, the Make Animal Testing History Virtual March on Brussels. Signatories to our online petition were invited to design an online avatar of themselves to participate in our “cyber rally” to demonstrate the extent of public support for increased protections for animals in laboratories. Our cyber-rally garnered the support of more than 100,000 European and global citizens, including rockers Chrissie Hynde and Brian May, funny man Ricky Gervais, and actress Joanna Lumley.

Donate to support HSI’s campaign to end animal testing around the world.

Positive outcomes 

  • A ban on the use of great apes such as chimpanzees (with prohibitive limitations on opportunities to deviate from the ban; no great apes currently used in EU labs).
  • Ethical and scientific review before animal experiments are authorised.
  • The requirement for all breeders, suppliers and users of animals to demonstrate compliance, including through choice of equipment and animal housing, and training of personnel.
  • Increased action at EU- and Member State-level to develop and promote non-animal methods in all areas including medical research and education.

Negative outcomes

  • Many thousands of animals will still be permitted to endure “severe suffering,” the highest severity classification in law. Examples of severe suffering in the law include toxicity testing to death; tumours causing progressive lethal disease and long-lasting pain; unstable fractures or trauma to produce multiple organ failure; inescapable electric shock or complete isolation of social animals for prolonged periods.
  • Animals can still be subjected to repeated painful experiments with few limitations.
  • No significant restrictions on the use of non-human primates (other than symbolic ban on great apes).
  • No commitment to a targeted EU strategy to reduce and replace animal experiments over time.

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