Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Negotiations remain open on animal testing Directive as Member States criticise trialogue agreement

Posted: 16 December 2009

The Swedish Presidency of the European Parliament yesterday (15 December 2009) presented the current state of play of the negotiations between the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament, to find a compromise agreement on the new Directive on animal testing.

The Presidency announced that a deal had been reached in the last trialogue meeting on 7 December 2009. However, it also admitted that some items were still pending and that it was therefore too early for a vote. In addition, it mentioned that some political groups in the European Parliament had some reservations about the deal.

This debate signals that negotiations remain open on key issues. Animal Defenders International (ADI), which has continually highlighted its concerns over the progress of the Directive to negotiators, will continue to lobby hard to ensure that Member States retain the democratic right to grant stronger animal protection than the Directive standards.

Following the announcements from the Presidency, representatives of Member States with the most advanced animal welfare legislation then took the floor to criticise specific aspects of the proposed Directive.

Finland declared that it does not support the current Article 2A preventing Member States from going further in animal protection than the standards of the Directive. The Finnish representative emphasised that the aim of harmonisation is to set minimum standards across the EU, not to stop progress in individual countries.

The Dutch representatives said that they could not support derogation measures that have been agreed on the restrictions to primate use, as it was contrary to the aim of the Directive which is to reduce animal testing.

Denmark also expressed its dissatisfaction about Article 2A as well as the derogation clause on the upper limit of suffering provided in the compromise.

The European Commission stated that it was happy that the core elements of its initial proposal remained in the text, but acknowledged that pending issues will have to be addressed during the next Presidency.

ADI is committed to pushing for the best possible protection for animals so will continue to defend restrictions on primate testing and push for regular thematic reviews so that a targeted phase-out can be put into place.

As political groups in the European Parliament have to decide this week whether to accept or reject the deal reached in the trialogue, there is no guarantee that the text will pass this stage. The Greens are making it clear that they cannot accept it in its current form, and the Spanish Presidency will be under considerable pressure to find a better deal for animals and promote non-animal research techniques.

Tim Phillips, Campaign Director, ADI, said: “The Directive will impact on the lives of millions of lab animals and we urge EU representatives to seize this opportunity to act in support of robust animal protection measures. ADI will continue to push for the best possible regulations for animal protection under the Directive, whilst advocating the introduction of advanced non-animal techniques, which would benefit both animals and humans.”

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