4 April 2023
A new poll, carried out by Savanta ComRes in 8 EU countries last November, reveals the public’s concerns about the use of animals in research, testing and education.
In particular, the survey highlights the need to do more to accelerate the full replacement of animals used for scientific purposes, and to move towards animal-free science and innovation.
The poll revealed that:
73% agree that they are very concerned about the use of animals in scientific research, testing and education.
76% agree that more needs to be done to accelerate the full replacement of animal experiments in scientific research, testing and education.
77% agree that the European Commission and its Member States should develop a coordinated strategy to transition to scientific research, testing, and education without the use of animals.
75% also agree that the European Union should be a global leader in moving towards science and innovation without the use of animals.
A similar percentage is found among Finnish citizens, according to a 2021 opinion poll conducted by Taloustutkimus, which shows that 78% of Finns agree that animal testing should gradually be replaced by non-animal methods.
The results of these surveys reinforce the public’s strong desire to move away from animal testing as illustrated by the recent European citizens’ initiative “Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics – Commit to a Europe Without Animal Testing” which gathered over 1.2 million signatures, and passed the minimum threshold in no less than 21 EU Member States. It also echoes the 2021 European Parliament’s resolution, which calls on the European Commission to coordinate together with Member States a concrete plan to accelerate the transition to non-animal testing.
Other European countries, such as Switzerland and Norway, also support a transition to non-animal science, with the new poll showing that 68% of Swiss and 64% of Norwegians agree that their country should commit to transition to scientific research, testing, and education without the use of animals.
Recognising the scientific and ethical concerns associated with animal-based research, several European countries have in recent years declared their intention to reduce and replace the use of animals in science. The Netherlands has a well-defined and transparent initiative in place to transition to non-animal science. The new German government is committed to implementing a strategy to reduce animal experiments, and promote research on non-animal methods. In 2021, and the Flemish Parliament launched a project to develop an action plan to reduce the use of animals for scientific purposes. In the same year, the Swedish 3Rs Centre published a preliminary strategy to limit the use of animals in research, testing and teaching, as requested by the Swedish Government. In 2020, the Norwegian National Experimental Animals Committee proposed a series of steps to develop a concrete plan for a transition to non-animal science.
Given the massive EU-wide support for moving towards non-animal science and the impressive toolbox of advanced non-animal approaches increasingly at our disposal across a number of area, the EU has the ingredients needed to increase its ambition and efforts to transition to non-animal science.
Download the country infographics:
Download the full survey