EU votes not to abolish animal testing despite rising advocate pressure
- In a major setback to the Stop Vivisection animal rights group, the European Commission has voted not to abolish animal testing, saying that it's not the right time to adopt such a measure.
- The commission voted to not stop animal testing in response to ongoing advocacy, including a Stop Vivisection petition signed by 1.2 million people. The goal was to repeal a directive that was designed to "replace, reduce, and refine the use of animals used for scientific purposes."
- Some animal rights advocates have asserted that the directive is counter-productive to protecing animals, because it does not allow EU members to pass national laws raising animal-welfare standards.
The overall message from the European Commission to animal rights activists is, "slow down." One major concern voiced by the commission is that if animal testing in the EU is banned, testing may go off-shore to countries in which there is less regard for animal welfare, and the situation could get out of control.
In addition, popular opinion in places like the U.K. shows a certain pragmatism on the part of the population. For example, according to Speaking of Research, which supports responsible animal testing, the number of animals used in research in the U.K. is decreasing—a total of 0.4% since 2012.
Although Stop Vivisection did not make a statement regarding the outcome of the vote, a spokesperson from the U.S.-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) weighed in and chastised the commission for its decision, the WSJ reports.