Recognizing the economic, scientific, and ethical benefits of animal-free methods, the strategy to phase out animal experiments has been accepted by both the scientific and regulatory communities. Thanks to the technical advances in recent years, full replacement of animal testing might be within our reach. And yet, according to the latest statistics, 556,000 animals in Switzerland and 9.5 million animals across the EU continue to be used every year for scientific purposes. These numbers have remained relatively unchanged in the last decade, demonstrating that the efforts to replace animal use for scientific purposes have not been fruitful and a comprehensive action plan needs to be adopted.
Fortunately, an increasing number of initiatives across the globe have embarked on the goal to phase out animal experiments. The US Environmental Protection Agency announced in 2019 that it will stop conducting or funding studies on mammals by 2035. In September 2021, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution requesting the European Commission to establish an EU-wide Action Plan for the active phase-out of the use of animals in experiments. With more directed effort and aggressive support for the development of new technologies, we can envision a time when scientific research and regulatory testing are conducted without causing harm to animals. What steps need to be taken to achieve this goal?
At the Forum 2022, Animalfree Research would like to raise and discuss the following questions:
What are the key scientific, legislative, and financial obstacles to phasing out animal experiments?
Which research fields are most conducive to implementing a complete replacement of animal use for scientific purposes?
What measures must an action plan include to achieve a marked replacement and reduction of animals used in research?
What would be a feasible phase-out strategy for Switzerland and what can we learn from other countries?