Europe threatens Netherlands over lab animal treatment

The Netherlands has been referred by the European Commission to the European Court of Justice for failure to enact European legislation on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

The European rules, which were to be exacted into national state law by November 2012, aimed to minimize the number of animals used in experiments, laying down minimum standards for housing and care.

The European Commission is requesting the Court to impose penalty payments of 51,156 euros per day until the laws are enacted domestically.

While Dutch legislation provides some protection for animals used in laboratories, full compliance with European-wide standards has not been achieved. Shortcomings concern “the purpose of testing procedures, the use of endangered species, classification of severity of procedures, establishment of an animal-welfare body, as well as prior authorisation for animal testing projects”, said a from the European Commission.

The Commission first raised concerns in a formal letter in January 2013, and repeated concerns five months later. A draft act is currently awaiting discussion in the Dutch Senate.

In August, the University of Maastrict Anti Animal Testing Coalition over their proposed testing of pacemakers on several dozen labradors. The university decided to end the experiments after more than 84 thousand signatures were collected.