Every year, millions of animals are subjected to ‘cruel and archaic’ tests in the EU
A whopping 9.3 million experiments were conducted on animals in the EU in 2019, according to legislation governing animal experiments in the member states.
However, the total number of animals suffering in the labs is even more shocking at 10.5 million. The statistics reveal that a further 1.2 million procedures involved using animals with a harmful genetic mutation to create or maintain colonies of genetically altered (GA) animals.
Moreover, among the 10.5 million who were experimented on, over 9 million included mice, rats, and fish as ‘they’re considered cheap, disposable, and convenient to keep in confined spaces.’
Other animals used in the experiments included 10,203 primates, 20,585 dogs, and 3,707 cats.
Consistent with previous years, most tests were carried out in the United Kingdom (2,304,461; still an EU member state in 2019), Germany (2,202,592) and France (1,865,403).
Furthermore, researchers admitted that 41% of the tests conducted were considered to have caused moderate (3,404,878) or severe (959,639) suffering to the animals involved.
Animal rights campaigners have been urging the EU to commit to phasing out all animal experiments and transitioning to completely animal-free science for years.
While 2019 figures have decreased 1% from 10.6 million in 2018 to 10.5 million, it still doesn’t show a determined move away from reliance on animals.
EU and animal welfare laws
In a 2020 poll carried out for Cruelty Free Europe, nearly 72% of EU citizens agreed that the union should set binding targets and deadlines to phase out testing on animals.
Last September, the European Parliament overwhelmingly voted (667 to 4) in support of an action plan to end all experiments on animals.
The resolution called for a shift towards scientific methods that excluded animals, including for research, regulatory testing, and education. It also urged for increasing animal-free research funding.
‘Urgent need for change’
However, the EU is yet to follow through on the animal welfare plan. Kerry Postlewhite is the director of Government and Regulatory Affairs of animal protection and advocacy group Cruelty Free International. She said: “The EU’s 2019 numbers show that far more needs to be done to end the cruel use of animals in research and testing.
“Despite the great progress made in the development of non-animal testing methods, and the clear desire of both the European Parliament and citizens of EU member states, these figures underline the urgent need for change – and the importance of our European Citizens’ Initiative to end animal testing in Europe.”
The group has even launched a petition to call for an end to animal experimentation in the EU. It urges all EU citizens – regardless of where they live – to sign the petition and help them secure 1 million signatures before 31 August.
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