Enormous success: over a million European citizens demand a Europe free of animal testing
Stop animal testing, protect cruelty-free cosmetics! Over 1.4 million people from 27 EU countries have spoken out against animal testing in the European Citizens' Initiative 'Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics'. A milestone on the road to a Europe free of animal testing. And this summer there was another breakthrough for laboratory animals in the Dutch parliament; no fewer than six proposals by the Party for the Animals for research without animal testing were adopted. In the United Kingdom and Spain, sister parties protested at airports against the import of live lab animals.
Every year, tens of millions of animals – cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, monkeys, and others– are being used in laboratories across Europe. With the successful citizens' initiative, European citizens are calling on the European Commission to stop using animals for testing cosmetics and other chemicals and to come up with an ambitious plan to end all animal testing in Europe.
In a historic resolution last year, partly on the initiative of MEP Anja Hazekamp of the Dutch Party for the Animals, the European Parliament already spoke out in favour of an action plan to put an end to animal testing as soon as possible. A plan with an ambitious timetable and concrete interim goals, thanks to a proposal by the Party for the Animals, adopted at the time.
Thanks to the massive support of European citizens for the 'Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics' initiative, launched by NGOs like PETA, Cruelty Free Europe, the Eurogroup for Animals, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments and the Humane Society International Europe, the European Commission is forced to make animal testing a priority. "For thirty years, the EU has been promising to reduce the number of lab animals that are being abused," says Anja Hazekamp. She calls on the Commission to respond to the will of the European Parliament and the call of European citizens, and to really start working towards a Europe free of animal testing.
This summer, the British Animal Welfare Party and the Spanish Partido Animalista PACMA protested at Manchester and Barcelona airports. In Manchester, the protesters drew attention to the Macaques and dogs that are being transported to laboratories in the United Kingdom via the airport. In Barcelona, animal activists and members of PACMA protested against the import of monkeys from Mauritius and Vietnam that are being used on the Camarney 'monkey farm' in Spain to breed animals for laboratories around the world.
A breakthrough for research without animal testing
Last summer, the Party for the Animals had a huge breakthrough in the Dutch parliament. With the adoption of six proposals from the party, parliament for the first time clearly spoke out in favour of a rapid switch to scientific research without lab animals. "For years this was unimaginable," says MP Frank Wassenberg. "Parliament is not only saying that we have to do more to end research on animals but, with the adopted proposals, is now also taking significant steps in this direction."
For example, a majority voted to end animal testing for toxicity tests and to phase out other animal experiments with virtually no predictive value. Safety tests often say hardly anything about the effect of chemicals on humans, and in some research areas, 95% of animal testing is not or hardly translatable to humans. Parliament also voted for a swift reduction in the number of lab animals that are being kept 'as reserves' and, unused, are being killed as 'surplus'. And a majority wants to spend more research money on further developing alternatives.
For years, the number of lab animals used in Dutch laboratories continued to fluctuate around 450,000 animals per year. For the first time, concrete steps have now been taken to reduce the number of animal experiments, which the government must convert into policy in the coming months.