Navigation path

High level navigation

Page navigation

Additional tools

  • Instagram
  • 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, must be carried out in compliance with EU legislation.

Since 1986, the EU has had specific legislation covering the use of animals for scientific purposes. On 22 September 2010 the EU adopted Directive 2010/63/EU which updated and replaced the 1986 Directive 86/609/EEC on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. The aim of the 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.  The EU Directive is unique in the world because it sets as its ultimate goal the full replacement of use of animals for scientific purposes.

The Directive took effect on 1 January 2013. In 2019, it was further amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/1010 to incorporate ambitious goals for reporting and transparency to help progress towards the ultimate goal. The amendments have been included in the consolidated text of Directive 2010/63/EU (as amended Regulation (EU) 2019/1010). For reference, the recitals to the Directive can be found in the original Directive 2010/63/EU.

Latest updates

News archive