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Europe’s parliament calls for an EU-wide action plan to drive phase-out of all animal experiments

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White rabbit in green grass

We call for UK to follow suit

Cross-party Members of the European Parliament this morning voted overwhelmingly in support of an action plan to accelerate the transition from the use of animals in research and testing to human-relevant science across the EU, stressing the importance of a clear and ambitious timeline. Reduction targets and milestones to incentivise progress.

The parliament wants to see officials in the European Commission set up a high-level group to work with member states and others to draw up an ambitious plan containing concrete actions that will lead to absolute and sustained reductions in the number on animals used in experiments.

Cruelty Free International’s Director of Science & Regulatory Affairs, Dr Katy Taylor, said: “This is fantastic news for animals and people. Critics of the European Parliament’s decision have tried to pit environmental safety and human health against animal protection – that’s the opposite of what this does. Phasing out animal tests and investing more in animal-free science is good for safety and our health, as well as for the millions of animals who still suffer in laboratories in Europe.

“I urge the UK Government to step up and demonstrate that it really is a leader in animal protection and agree to a similar action plan for the UK. We know that the public and many in the science community want to see much more done to bring animal experiments to an end here.”

In July, the Home Office released statistics for 2020 which showed that although there had been a welcome drop in the total number of animal experiments of 15% from 3.4 million to 2.9 million, the Government itself admitted that this was largely explained by two national lockdowns. There is sadly no evidence at all that the reduction is due to any concerted effort by government and other stakeholders to transition away from reliance on unreliable and cruel animal testing.

In particular, 2020 saw a depressing rise in the number of experiments involving dogs (up by 3%), cats (up by 11%), rabbits (up by 11%) and horses (up by 3%).

Cruelty Free international has long campaigned for an active phase-out with targets and key dates. If you live in the UK, you can sign Cruelty Free International’s Target Zero petition for an end to animal experiments.