We welcome the EU Commission’s response today to the Stop Vivisection European Citizens’ Initiative, and their commitment to the Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.
High-quality basic and applied scientific research using animals has underpinned the development of virtually all the life-saving medicines we take for granted today, and continues to play a key role in this work. Repealing the Directive today would have halted the discovery and development of new life-saving therapies in Europe.
As highlighted in the Commission’s response though, everyone wants to work towards a time when animals are no longer needed in medical research. The pharmaceutical industry is strongly committed to replacing, reducing and refining the use of animals in research wherever possible - the ‘3Rs’ – and the welfare of animals in its care. The Directive has embedded the 3Rs in European legislation, and increased welfare standards with harmonisation across the EU. We therefore welcome the Commission’s commitment to the current Directive, as well as its intent to improve knowledge sharing in the 3Rs, and organise a conference to discuss how scientific advancements can drive research towards a time when animals will no longer be needed.
The fact that over 1 million EU citizens signed this European Citizens’ Initiative should not be ignored. It is important that the scientific community facilitate informed public debate on this issue, by explaining how and why animals they use animals in research.
Our industry should be proud to discuss this work openly with the public: our member companies develop innovative, life-saving, medicines, and this work would simply not be possible today without the use of animals. They also care greatly for their animals, with highly trained and compassionate staff. The ABPI and several of our member companies are signatories to the Concordat on Openness on Animal Research in the UK, committing to greater openness on this topic, and today we have launched our Members’ Guide to the Concordat. We hope this guide will provide ideas, tips, and share good examples of how companies can be more open about their use of animals in research, improving public dialogue on this topic.
Dr Virginia Acha
Executive Director – Research, Medical and Innovation