A closer look at the regulations applied in the EU countries will show that there has been a lot of thought put into the subject. However, one might find it a bit strange that those regulations are only a recent history. The Council Directive has only been published in November 1986.
The Council Directive 86/609/EEC is the general European guideline regarding the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States regarding the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes.
The aim of this Directive is to have a framework to protect animals used for experimental or scientific purposes by ensuring that they are adequately cared for and that no unnecessary pain or suffering is inflicted.
Some of the aspects that are discussed in this directive are:
• Prohibiting the use of endangered species for experimental purposes.
o Unless the research is about preserving the species
o Or if there is no other adequate possiblity.
• Guidelines for the care and accommodation of animals.
• Designating the authorities responsible for verifying that this Directive is implemented.
• Obliging each Member State to collect and periodically make publicly available statistical information on the use of animals for experimental purposes.
An interesting paragraph states that “Experiments must only take place if there is no alternative method that does not entail the use of animals. Animals involved must be those with the lowest degree of neuro-physiological sensitivity”.
Several other paragraphs discuss exclusively and repeatedly the importance of imposing the least amount of pain possible while performing tests on animals.
Another interesting paragraph is the one concerned with the prevention of duplication in experiments by “obliging” the different member states to mutually recognize their scientific results:
“In order to avoid any risk of duplication in experiments, Member States must accept to mutually recognize their scientific results”.
The whole text of the Council Directive can be found on the following link:
Those discussed regulations and other found in the original text allow us to see that testing on animals, at least in the EU, is not a monkey business. It’s rather a well regulated and controlled part of scientific research that is implemented with full respect and care to the animal in question, when no other possibility is available.