The ‘Stop Vivisection’ European Citizens’ Initiative

The Academy of Medical Sciences signed a pan-European statement opposing the ‘Stop Vivisection’ European Citizens’ Initiative.

Ongoing

In March 2015, the Academy of Medical Sciences supported a pan-European statement opposing the ‘Stop Vivisection’ European Citizens’ Initiative and supporting the European Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

The Initiative, submitted to the European Commission on 4 March 2015, calls on the Commission to “abrogate directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes and to present a new proposal that does away with animal experimentation and instead makes compulsory the use - in biomedical and toxicological research - of data directly relevant for the human species”. 

The statement signed by the Academy highlights that:

  • Research using animals has facilitated major breakthroughs in medicine, and remains a necessary part of scientific efforts to understand biology and disease, and to develop safe and effective novel therapeutics.
  • The Directive was shaped by consultation with animal welfare groups, scientists and animal technologists. It:
  • Ensures that animals can only be used in research when there is no viable alternative method and if the potential medical, veterinary and scientific benefits are compelling.
  • Embeds into EU legislation the requirement to consider the 3Rs (replacement, reduction, refinement) when undertaking research using animals.
  • Ensures that high standards of welfare are achieved consistently across the EU.
  • Repealing the Directive would represent a major step backwards both for animal welfare in the EU and for Europe’s leading role in advancing human and animal health.
  • Whilst the scientific community is not able to fully replace the use of animals at the present time, it should continue to make progress in developing alternative methods to the use of animals in research. 

The statement is available to download on the right-hand side of this page and has been signed by over 160 organisations from across Europe. It has also been translated into a number of European languages, all of which are available from the Wellcome Trust's website.

The Academy’s European network, FEAM (the Federation of European Academies of Medicine), supported a meeting on this issue, Understanding research using animals and the alternatives, at the European Parliament on 20 January 2015. The event, hosted by Vicky Ford MEP and Cristian Busoi MEP, explored the reasons for using animals in medical and veterinary research, and the importance of the 3Rs and their application. A report of the meeting is available to download on the right-hand side of this page.

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