Like all recent EU legislation, Directive 2010/63/EU includes a requirement for a review – in this case by 10 November 2017 (Article 58). Due to the relatively early timing of the review and the Directive’s partly delayed transposition into certain national legislations of the Member States, there is only limited experience with the Directive’s implementation. Its projected benefits, especially in terms of improved welfare and science, have not yet fully materialized. The focus of the review was therefore to assess the impacts of the Directive on the basis of preliminary findings.

The Directive has three key objectives: to ensure efficient functioning of the EU internal market and enhance competitiveness and innovation of the EU research industry through the creation of a level playing field; to ensure high standards of welfare for animals still used for scientific purposes; and to improve transparency to the general public on the use of live animals for scientific purposes in the EU. The review was assessing the progress towards these three goals. The Directive’s framework is generally considered to be a sound foundation for the regulation of animals used for scientific purposes. There are indications that the impact of the Directive varies among Member States. However, this is largely due to the differences in national legislation in place prior to the Directive. Some aspects of the Directive are developing and working well, for example Animal Welfare Bodies which are already contributing positively to animal use and care practices. Other positive effects include raising standards in research practice, improved Three Rs awareness, promotion of culture of care, growing recognition within the research community of the link between animal welfare and good science, and increasing transparency. At the same time, areas have been identified as needing further attention and progress. These include the efficiency and consistency of project evaluation and authorization processes as well as access to, and quality of information on the use of animals. Finally, the Review Report incorporates the findings from the feasibility study on the progress towards the requirement to restrict the use of non-human primates to those animals which are offspring of parents which themselves were bred in captivity or obtained from a self-sustaining colony (Article 10 of the Directive).

The Review Report COM(2017) 631 is accompanied by a Commission Staff Working Document SWD(2017) 353 providing more insight into the review finding. The Staff Working Document also contains a number of recommendations for different stakeholders to take up, as appropriate, with the common aim of improving the attainment of Directive objectives.

(European Commission>Environment>Chemicals updates)