Over 10.6 million animal experiments in the EU in 2018
New figures underline case for action plan to accelerate end to animal testing in Europe
Last year, on the tenth anniversary of the European Union’s new, tougher law on the ‘protection of animals in scientific procedures’, our #10EUChallenge campaign highlighted that devastatingly the number of animals used in experiments had decreased only by an average of 2% per year, over ten years. New statistics just released by the European Commission for 2018 sadly confirm that pattern. Unless the EU acts now to put in place a comprehensive, concerted strategy to drive and accelerate an end to animal experiments, it will be the best part of a century before we will see an end to this cruel and unreliable practice. The 2018 figures show that (excluding Norway – an EEA member included in the reporting for the first time) the total number of uses of animals in animal experiments was over 10.6 million – again a welcome but paltry fall of just 2% compared to 2017. The most animal experiments were once again concluded in the UK (2.4 million), followed by Germany (2.1 million) and France (1.9 million). Worryingly, animal experiments are still taking place in the EU when accepted replacement non-animal methods are in place. This includes the continued use of animals in eye irritation tests, which actually increased in 2018, batch potency testing (mostly botulinum toxicity testing), and the use of the ascites method for antibody production, which also increased by 22% between 2017 and 2018. Kerry Postlewhite, our Director of Public Affairs said: “It’s the same old story all over again, despite strides forward in science, clear public opposition and repeated commitments from member state governments and the European Commission to the goal of reducing and replacing animal tests. Together with other animal protection organisations, we have been making the case for an EU action plan to bring animal experiments to an end in Europe – these figures underline the urgent need for such an approach.” In September, the European Parliament will decide whether to back a call for an EU animal experiments phase-out plan with clear milestones and actions. If you live in the EU, why not get in touch with your Members of the European Parliament and ask them for their support.