On the 10th of July, Cruelty Free Europe was launched in Brussels. This new coalition, represented in Belgium by GAIA, aims to end animal testing in Europe. “Every year, 10.5 million animals are still used in experiments in Europe”, says GAIA director Ann De Greef. “This has got to stop. We want to make the European Union a leader in the field of animal-free research. To this end, we will work together with the European Parliament, the Commission, experts, and industry.”
Today, laboratory animals are mainly protected in appearance only. United in Cruelty Free Europe, GAIA wants to defend more effectively the millions of animals that are victim to painful and deadly testing in Europe every year. “Today, European legislation on animal testing is mainly tailored to the researchers’ lobby groups”, explains De Greef. “It is therefore essential that the associations working to put an end to animal testing organise themselves at the European level. European regulators are currently giving too much freedom to researchers and need to be more directive and stricter in order to systematically reduce the use of animals for experiments.”
An end to painful animal testing
Cruelty Free Europe’s priority objective is to put an end to painful animal testing and experiments on primates, dogs, and cats. Some 10.5 million animals are still used in experiments in Europe. In Belgium that is 543,074. The total number of dogs used in testing, including the ‘reused’ animals, increased from 1,529 in 2016 to 1856 in 2017. A total of 44 rhesus monkeys were held and/or used for experimental testing in 2017.
In addition, Cruelty Free Europe will ensure that the European ban on animal testing for cosmetic products is effectively enforced. The new coalition also wants to examine European funding in order to promote the development and validation of alternative, effective, and low-cost testing methods that can replace animal testing in the long term.
 Animal testing for finished cosmetic products has been banned in the EU since 2004 and animal testing for cosmetic ingredients has been banned since 2009. A ban on the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals was implemented in 2013.