European scientific community welcomes EU review of the Directive for the protection of animals used for research


LONDON, UK – 10 November, 2017

The European scientific community supports the view of the EU Commission, that the Directive on the protection of animals used in biomedical research is bringing significant benefits in animal welfare and a sound foundation for future best practice in the sector.

The European Animal Research Association (EARA), which represents more than 60 organisations across Europe in the biomedical research sector, has welcomed the Commission report, published today. The report reviews the requirements of Directive 2010/63/EU – all uses of live animals for research or education and testing must be carried out in compliance with the Directive.

In particular, the EU recognised that measures to improve transparency to the general public on the performance of research establishments in the areas of animal use and welfare are starting to have an effect. Requirements to publish non-technical summaries of the objectives and benefits of research projects, as well as annual statistical data, are also seen to have greatly improved openness in Member States.

EARA executive director, Kirk Leech, said: “The EARA membership has made great strides to improve openness and transparency, and we are happy to see our work discussed positively in the report.  The association intends to go even further to bring about significant cultural change in the sector, in order to improve the public’s understanding of the medical advances being made thanks to animal research.”

“It’s good to see that the review recognises the great improvements in animal welfare in Europe. The sector is also determined to increase its efforts for harmonisation of standards and the implementation of the Three Rs (Replace, Reduce, Refine) which will mean Europe has the world’s strictest framework to protect research animals,” he added.

Another significant outcome of the review is that the EU has recognised the continued importance of non-human primates for animal research.

EARA agrees with the conclusion of the report that the Directive is relevant and necessary and that, at this stage, there is no need for any amendments.


Notes to editors

About EARA
The European Animal Research Association (EARA) is an organisation that communicates and advocates on biomedical research using animals and provides accurate, evidence-based information. It has more than 60 partner organisations, including private and public research bodies, universities, regional and national biomedical associations and suppliers, across 14 European countries.

EARA’s vision is to enhance the understanding and recognition of research involving animals across Europe, allowing for a more constructive dialogue with all stakeholders and a more efficient climate for research in Europe.

About Directive 2010/63/EU
The Directive has three key objectives:

  • Ensure efficient functioning of the EU internal market and enhance competitiveness and innovation of the EU research industry through the creation of a level playing field.
  • Ensure high standards of welfare for animals used for scientific purposes.
  • Improve transparency to the general public of the performance of research establishments in terms of animal use and welfare.

Critical to enhancing the welfare of animals is the effective application of the ‘Three Rs’: Replace, Reduce and Refine the use and care of animals used for scientific purposes. The Directive sets out requirements on:

  • The replacement and reduction of the use of animals in procedures and the refinement of the breeding, accommodation, care and use of those animals.
  • The origin, breeding and marking of animals.
  • The operations of breeders, suppliers and users.
  • The evaluation and authorisation of projects involving the use of animals in procedures.