Parties in Wallonia’s parliament have agreed to have the region’s government ask its Federal, Flemish and Brussels counterparts to relaunch a plan to create an inter-federal network/centre for promoting and developing scientific research methods that avoid experiments on animals. The plan was developed in 2009 but has remained in limbo since then.
The parliamentarians, from the Socialist Party (PS), Reformist Movement (MR) and Humanist Democratic Centre (cdH) want to make it compulsory for researchers to choose alternatives to the use of animals wherever these exist. At the initiative of Edmund Stoffels (PS), the three parties moved a draft resolution to that effect, which was unanimously adopted on Monday in the parliament’s Commission on the Environment.
Animal experiments within the framework of scientific research projects already require prior authorisation from a local ethics commission specific to the research institution.
In this regard, the minister in charge of animal welfare, Carlo Di Antonio, said that he wanted to make sure, in the draft Animal Welfare Code, that the authority that has to approve experiments is made more independent. This is because the local ethics commissions charged with validating such projects sometimes include the head of the laboratory concerned and even the researcher.
The European Union already bans the testing of cosmetics or their ingredients on animals, as well as the marketing of goods for which such procedures are used.