Navigation path

High level navigation

Page navigation

Additional tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Print version
  • Decrease text
  • Increase text

Animals used for scientific purposes


The protection and welfare of animals is an area covered by a wide range of EU legislation. This includes the protection of wildlife, zoo animals, farm animals, animals in transport and animals used for scientific purposes. Animal studies, whether for the development or production of new medicines, for physiological studies, for studying environmental effects or for the testing of chemicals or new food additives, has to be carried out in compliance with EU legislation.

Since 1986, the EU has had in place specific legislation covering the use of animals for scientific purposes. On 22 September 2010 the EU adopted Directive 2010/63/EU which updates and replaces the 1986 Directive 86/609/EEC on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. The aim of the new Directive is to strengthen legislation, and improve the welfare of those animals still needed to be used, as well as to firmly anchor the principle of the Three Rs, to Replace, Reduce and Refine the use of animals, in EU legislation. Directive 2010/63/EU took full effect on 1 January 2013.

Latest updates

  • EURL ECVAM status report on the development, validation and regulatory acceptance of alternative methods and approaches covering the years 2013 to April 2014 has been published
  • The consolidated version of the amended Commission Implementing Decision 2012/707/EU on reporting is now available in all community languages
  • A warm welcome to all visitors! Explore the brand new pages dedicated to the "Three Rs" and alternative approaches including a list of key resources
  • A new easy-to-remember alias link to our pages: Feel free to share the new link widely! It is also more easily found via search engines with key words 'animals', 'science' and 'EU'
  • European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, has just published the second report on the use of alternative methods under REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation.
  • A finalised consensus document on a common, non-binding EU Education and Training Framework has been published.
  • The Seventh Statistical report on the number of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes in the EU in 2011 has just been published.
  • A new consensus document on project evaluation and retrospective assessment has been published.

News archive