BRUSSELS— Just one year following the adoption of a groundbreaking resolution by the European Parliament to reduce the use of animals in scientific experiments asking the European Commission “to set reduction goals […]through a more proactive implementation of the current regulations on the safety of chemicals and other products”, Humane Society International is calling on European executives to use the revision of the EU’s chemical legislation to deliver on the MEPs’ request.
More than 10 million animals each year are used in laboratories around Europe for research and testing procedures that can cause them agonizing pain and suffering. The number of animals used in experiments in the European Union is not decreasing, and as the European Parliament resolution highlighted, the EU is not properly equipped to achieve the mandatory goal of replacing animals in research, regulatory testing and education.
In the next few months, the Commission will publish proposals for revising the key chemical management laws such as REACH (registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals), CLP (classification, labeling and packaging of substances and mixtures) and Cosmetic Products. This legislative package proposed as part of the EU’s Chemical Safety Strategy represents a unique opportunity for proposing a coherent and efficient strategy to reduce the use of animals in chemical testing through the wider use of more efficient and ethical approaches.
Aviva Vetter, Humane Society International’s senior manager for cosmetics, says: “Although current binding legislation prescribes the end of animal testing, at present no operational plan with a timeline, targets, indicators and milestones is in place. Present legislation does not indicate cut-off dates for achieving progress towards the end of animal testing. The compulsory objective to achieve total replacements is therefore weakened by the absence of an operational plan.”
Humane Society International also urges the Commission to close the existing loopholes between REACH and the Cosmetic Products Regulation which still allow animal testing to be carried out for ingredients solely used in cosmetics, despite a mandatory ban being placed in 2013. Illustrating the strength of public opinion on this subject, about 1,4 million signatures have recently been collected through the “Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics” European Citizens Initiative , which calls on Member States to implement a full ban on animal testing for cosmetic products and their ingredients.
New Approach Methodologies, which describe non-animal advanced methods, offer a variety of opportunities in terms of safety, competitiveness, growth and employment which are currently being missed to the benefit of other countries such as the U.S. and Singapore, which are leading in research and innovation with NAMs.
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