Scrappy Vote On New EU Animal Testing Rules

08 September 2010
SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has this afternoon congratulated his group colleague Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans, who shadowed the hugely complex dossier on animal testing, voted upon by the Parliament in Strasbourg today.

Smith's group has criticised the new EU laws on animal testing for not going far enough, and had put down amendments to clarify three points: to ensure that those member states who want to introduce tougher animal welfare standards would be able to do so; to oblige the use of non-animal testing where alternatives exist; and to strengthen the rules on primate testing.  The amendments were all defeated, and the eventual package approved by the Parliament as a whole.
Smith said:
"While the revised legislation will introduce some improvements to current EU rules on animal testing, it simply does not go far enough and, in some cases, actually weakens the current laws. Serious concerns highlighted throughout by my group colleague have been ignored and I regret that MEPs today failed to support our attempts to redress these concerns.

"Crucially, the new laws will fail to ensure that alternatives to animal testing are used whenever possible. Where I myself am reluctantly in favour of testing on animals where no alternatives exist, where non-animal alternatives do exist surely the law should oblige their use.  Worryingly, the new laws would also prevent member states from adopting more ambitious rules on animal testing at national level.  Our group wanted to ensure national governments maintained this right.  It is also a real shame that tougher rules on the use of non-human primates were not adopted.

"However, there are significant improvements in the compromise text, particularly on inspections, on the new authorisation process for experiments and a proper classification system. Nonetheless, we have been waiting several years for the update of this law and this review represents a missed opportunity for guaranteeing animal welfare. Those MEPs who will seek to present today's vote as a massive blow for animal welfare are kidding the voters on, but we could have done a lot better today."