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H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L



S P E C I A L F E AT U R E : A N I M A L E T H I C S



2 0 2 0

discussion. Each section was opened with statements from experts

chosen by the committee, namely Ray Greek, president of the

organisation Americans For Medical Advancement, Françoise Barré-

Sinoussi, on behalf of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical

Industries and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine,

and Emily McIvor, policy director for the Research and Toxicology

Department at Humane Society International.

According to the Stop Vivisection ECI, both Greek and McIvor strongly

support its vision.Whereas Greek provided an explanation of the scientific

rationale behind the request of abolishing animal experiments, Barré-

Sinoussi, referring to her work, stated that the animal model should not

be abandoned.

End animal testing

The conclusions of the meeting were drawn by Gianni Tamino, a professor

of biology at the University of Padua, Italy, and one of the ECI organisers.

He asked the Commission for precise and trustworthy answers and to

reject the strong contradictions existing in Directive 2010/63.

Tamino added that a full awareness now exists in society that defending

the rights of science, defending the rights of humans to health and a

sound environment, and defending the rights of animals require us to

go in the very same direction: the end of animal testing.

Following consideration, the European Commission announced its official

response to the ECI in June in which it said it agreed with the sentiment

of eradicating animal testing, but disagreed about how to achieve this.


pioneering instrument introduced under the Lisbon Treaty is the

European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), a petition tool allowing EU

residents to invite the European Commission to propose

legislation in a specific area in which the institution has competency.

The latest ECI to be considered is Stop Vivisection, which has the

following objective: Considering clear ethical objections to animal

experiments and solid scientific principles that invalidate the ‘animal

model’ for predicting human response, we urge the European

Commission to abrogate Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of

animals used for scientific purposes and to present a new proposal that

does away with animal experimentation and instead makes compulsory

the use – in biomedical and toxicological research – of data directly

relevant for the human species.

Three reasons

The petition in support of the Stop Vivisection ECI was presented to the

European Commission in 2013. An ECI needs at least one million

signatories from at least seven EU member states to be considered, and,

according to EurActiv, the petition now has 1.6 million signatories. The

organisers say there are three core reasons for the ECI:

‘The number of doctors and researchers of international renown who

question the validity of animal experimentation, as a major scientific error

– since it has no predictive value for humans – continues to grow.

‘From this perspective, the practice of animal experimentation is: a hazard

to human health and to the environment; a brake for the development

of new methods of biomedical research based on the extraordinary

scientific discoveries of our times, making inroads everywhere; an

obstacle to the ability to tap into answers far more reliable,

comprehensive – as well as being faster and cheaper – provided by new

technologies that are relevant to humans.

‘Stop Vivisection was also launched to challenge and oppose the strong

interests of those who make profits from animal testing, without

considering either the health of citizens or the right to life, to liberty and

to welfare, of all living beings.’

EP debate

A discussion on the ECI took place in Brussels in May. Hearing the views

of the delegation at the European Commission were Vice-President Jyrki

Katainen and Karl Falkenberg, director general of DG Environment,

amongst others. The presentation was followed by a debate with MEPs

organised by the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural

Development Committee.

The second hearing, entitled ‘Prospects for the current legislative

framework, the value of the animal model for predicting human

responses and alternatives to animal testing’, included three rounds of

Debating vivisection


explores the background to ‘Stop Vivisection’, the third European

Citizens’ Initiative to be considered by the EU’s executive, and the debate in

Brussels ahead of the Commission’s policy decision on animal testing

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Ray Greek at the Parliamentary debate