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European Parliament committee rejects amendments to animal testing directive

The Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament has rejected, at a meeting on 12th of July, amendments to the Council’s common position on the animal experiments directive tabled by Brian Simpson MEP (Labour) and Martin Hausling MEP (Greens).

These reasonable amendments were aimed at allowing Member States to enact laws providing greater protection to animals than the measures provided by the directive, put additional restrictions to the use of primates in experiments and promote the use of alternatives to animal testing.  These were all areas already covered by the Directive but requiring significant clarification.

Animal Defenders International’s Head of Parliamentary Affairs, Helder Constantino, attended the meeting in Brussels. ADI felt the amendments would have clarified, improved the text, and, importantly, ensured the it was in line with the promises being made to the public about the new directive.  Whilst the Greens and the GUE/NGL groups advocated taking the opportunity to ensure the best possible text moved forward, however, the other political groups (EPP, S&D and ALDE) were in agreement to reject all amendments to avoid reopening negotiations with the Commission and the Council.

Helder Constantino stated after the debate: “We are disappointed that the European Parliament has missed this opportunity to hear the concerns of the public and improve the text as agreed by the Council of Ministers. Although the new Directive undoubtedly represents important progress as compared with the 25 year old Directive 86//609/EEC, there is a lot to do to achieve the reduction in animal testing that the public is expecting from the EU.”

“Importantly, this Directive should be regarded as a minimum standard across Europe.  It is an improvement but in most areas it sets a very basic standard.  Indeed several member states already have higher standards in certain areas.  It is therefore baffling why MEPs chose not to ensure that the directive explicitly encouraged member states to aspire to the highest possible standards.  When it is implemented at national level ADI will urge Member States to go beyond the minimum requirements of the directive and adopt pro-active policies to replace the use of animals in laboratories.

The Directive will now go to Plenary for a final vote this autumn. This will be the last step before the transposition phase at the national level.

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