ABOUT THE ISSUE
Alternative methods can be used to replace the use of animals (replacement), reduce their numbers (reduction) or reduce their suffering (refinement). This “3R” approach has been integrated in EU policies relating to the use of animals in research, such as the general animal experimentation directive, and the safety testing of cosmetics and chemicals. However a huge number of animals are still being used and new technologies create new needs for safety testing.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT SITUATION
The European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) has validated over 30 3R methods. This is a long process, lasting around 10 years. The validation process ensures that alternatives are more reliable or equal to that of an animal test with regard to human safety. About 80% of these methods have also been regulatory accepted at an international level.
Alternatives are currently promoted through numerous EU policies. They include call based cultures, including development of human skin, and computer models.
WHAT ARE WE CALLING FOR
- Eurogroup's aim is ultimately to see the replacement of animal testing with alternative methods. In the meantime, all efforts should be taken to ensure that fewer animals are used and that their suffering is limited.
- Increased funding for the development and research of alternative methods
- The revision of outdated European legislation requiring animal testing to ensure the 3Rs are incorporated to their fullest.
- The promotion of the use of alternatives with scientists and regulators at the EU and international level