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The Stop Vivisection European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is calling on the European Commission to repeal European Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes and to ban all research using animals.

Professor Dominic Wells FSB, Chair of the Animal Science Group, a special interest group of the Society of Biology, spoke today in support of the Directive:

“Repeal of the European Directive 2010/63/EU would be a disaster for both animal welfare and bioscience research.

"Animal research is an essential element in improving our understanding of biology and in developing medical and veterinary treatments to save and improve the quality of human and animal lives. It is also vital that such work is appropriately regulated and is only conducted where there are no alternatives.

"While much can be learned from cell and tissue cultures, and drug properties can be modelled with computers, it is currently impossible to accurately predict the effects of a novel drug on the multiple interconnected tissues that form the whole animal.

"While there are some examples where animal studies have not been predictive of human responses, in the majority of cases the animal research has been accurately predictive and has been as essential part of moving novel therapies into the clinic.

"The European Directive 2010/63/EU seeks to apply the same regulations across Europe with a strong emphasis on the reduction, refinement and replacement of animals in research. It is a welfare orientated set of controls and good animal welfare is an essential part of good research.”

Further reading:

Yesterday a letter from a number of Nobel Laureates was published in The Times urging the European Parliament and the Commission to oppose the call to repeal the Directive.

On May 6th, Dame Kay Davies, University of Oxford, argued in Nature that losing legislation that has animal welfare at its core would not just jeopardize science, it is also likely to lead to a drop in standards.