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Commission launches database on use of animals in EU research


Database will track quantity and nature of countries' animal use and the severity of experiments

The European Commission has launched a database on the use of animals for research, education, testing and training in the EU, in a bid to increase transparency around these activities and ultimately replace them with non-animal methods.

“To progress towards the ultimate goal of full replacement, it is crucial to understand where, how and why animals are still required to be used for scientific purposes,” the Commission said on the Alures database website, which it launched on 1 June.

The database provides information on the number of animals used, the number of uses, the reasons for their use, the severity of the animals’ experience, and whether the animals were genetically modified.

For example, it says that in 2017, mice were the most frequently used animals for research purposes, with 5.7 million mice accounting for 60.8 per cent of the animals used.

At present the data can be explored at EU-level; the Commission said that national data will be accessible through the database from 2023.

Commission policy officer Susana Louhimies described the database as a “quantum leap” in transparency on animal research. She tweeted that there are no longer any “excuses left” for not following the three Rs’ principles on the use of animals in research—reduce, replace, refine.

“Tools to focus #3Rs efforts are freely available for all those who want to walk the talk,” she said.