Directive on Protection of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes

Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes regulates the care and use of animals used for research. It firmly embeds the principles of the 3Rs: to Replace, Reduce and Refine the use of animals in research.

The current Directive entered into force in November 2010, with regulations taking effect as from January 2013. According to a provision within this Directive, it is due to be reviewed by November 2017, after which the Commission will decide if a revision of the Directive is necessary.

This review comes very early on after its entry into force and there is only limited experience of the Directive’s implementation, moreover, some Member States have been delayed in implementing it. Additionally, the implementation of one of the key elements of the Directive, namely binding housing and care standards, will only become compulsory in 2017. The Directive’s projected benefits, especially in terms of improved animal welfare and science, will therefore not have fully materialised by November 2017, and the focus of the review will be to assess the impacts of the Directive on the basis of preliminary findings in selected targeted areas.

In preparation for the review, the Commission conducted a consultation in summer 2016 for stakeholder organisations interested in the care and use of animals for scientific purposes, to which Science Europe submitted a response.

Science Europe partnered with Wellcome Trust and the UK’s National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) to organise a workshop on the topic. Over 40 stakeholders, including grant-giving organisations, scientists and policy-makers from across Europe, gathered to discuss policies, positions and procedures underpinning funding research involving animals.

Key findings from the workshop:

  • Scientific research using animals still allows significant progress as it leads to understanding and fighting diseases.
  • It is important to review animal research with regard to the 3Rs to ensure the best possible animal welfare.
  • Excellence in science and animal welfare go hand in hand.

Agenda and outcomes of the workshop are available here.


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