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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Green Disappointment In Strasbourg As MEPs Vote For “Weak” Law On Animal Experiments

The UK’s Green Euro-MPs today criticised the European Parliament for voting against stronger provisions to protect animals used in experiments, as part of ongoing negotiations to update EU law on the practice.

MEPs voted this morning on the proposed new EU law on animal experiments, ‘The Protection of Animals used for Scientific Purpose’ – an update of EU Directive 86/609, which is now at least 20 years out of date.

The Greens in the Euro-Parliament had put forward three amendments: to drop the restriction on national governments to introduce higher animal welfare standards than those required under EU law; to restore Parliament’s original demand that an alternative to animals must be used when available (subject to individual Member State laws); and to strengthen restrictions on the use of non human primates.

The Green amendments were all defeated, as were the Group’s calls for the whole report to be referred back for further development. Therefore the report now becomes the Parliament’s official position.

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East, expressed his disappointment at Parliament’s failure to provide adequate protection for the millions of animals being experimented on in EU labs every year. He said:

“It’s clear that this proposed legislation is not yet fully developed. Greens have long lobbied for animal protection to be enhanced and have been waiting many years for the update of this Directive. Sadly, today’s vote represents a missed opportunity for guaranteeing animal welfare.

“For example, the proposals will send a message to Member States that improvements in their animal welfare regime and attempts to reduce further the use of animals in experiments beyond what is required under EU law will not be encouraged – or indeed permitted.

“It’s true that there are some improvements in the compromise text, particularly on inspections, on the new authorisation process for experiments, and a proper classification system.

“But there are also concerns among animal welfare NGOs that the proposed legislation will allow for experiments on living animals for didactic purposes, experiments on stray dogs and cats – and for the permission of experiments without anaesthesia and/or painkillers.

“This is not about obstructing medical developments into human health; it is about wanting to minimise the unnecessary use of animals in experiments. A civilized society cannot remain indifferent to cruelty.”

Jean Lambert, London’s Green Euro-MP, said:

“The EU has an opportunity to lead the world in progressive animal research legislation, recognizing the latest developments in viable non-animal alternatives. The Greens will call for further deliberations until we can secure genuine improvements in animal welfare and protection.”