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Campaign group slams low spending on animal testing substitutes

An animal rights group has slammed EU countries for spending too little money on developing chemicals testing methods that don’t need animal experiments.

A group of 13 out of the 27 EU countries were unable to report any public spending on alternative testing methods in 2010, according to national reports submitted to the European Commission last year and released in February. Out of the remaining 14 countries, four (Cyprus, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia) said they spent under €10,000 euros overall on R&D for alternative testing methods in 2010.

Two member states (Belgium and the Czech Republic) reported spending between €10,001 and €100,000, while eight governments (Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK) declared spending between €100,001 and €1 million.

The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments says EU countries spent a combined €8.24 million of public money in 2010 to develop alternative methods for the testing of chemicals under the so-called Reach directive, which governs chemistry research in Europe.

“Based on these figures, EU countries are just paying lip service to the need to replace the millions of animals who will be killed to test chemicals under the Reach legislation,” Katy Taylor, the coalition’s scientific adviser, said in a statement. “We are calling on the Commission and all EU member countries to urgently increase their funding of alternatives to animal tests.”

Reach is an EU law that regulates the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals since 2007.