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A disappointing response

The official response of the European Commission (June 3, 2015) comes as a huge surprise and disappointment to the 1.2 million citizens who signed the European Citizen's Initiative (ECI) «STOP VIVISECTION».

The European Commission response plainly ignores every single request in our list of 10, which recapitulate a most crucial scientific, political, economic and ethical campaign, that was undersigned by a significant number of European citizens and that has been recognised by the European Commission itself.

We, the promoters of the Stop Vivisection European Citizens Initiative (ECI), have shown our willingness to engage in a political and open dialogue with the European authorities by preparing a science-based document and by asking the Commission to provide specific answers to our ten proposals. Not one of our legitimate proposals was met.

We feel that 1.2 MILLION citizens, and three years of intense campaigning deserve something better than a very superficial, generic reply. The Commission reply, that it shares our goal of phasing out animal experiments, is hard to believe.

The Commission continues to rely on the outdated principle of the 3Rs (reduction, refinement, replacement) and stressing the ethical dimension of the debate but avoiding the scientific arguments regarding animal experimentation. This is clearly shown by the attitude towards the “conference issue” as well.

Ignoring our request to convene a future scientific debate, with experts from both sides (pro and counter animal experiments) where scientific arguments could be discussed in depth in front of the public and the media as well as the international scientific community, the Commission proposes to set up a conference on the development of alternative methods. The major problem with this approach is that it avoids addressing the scientific validity of the animal model.

This is a result showing a lack of democracy across the European political playing field, and a thorough lack of understanding of the collective interests and expectations as opposed to particular interests. To get the kind of answer that we have received from the European Commission it would have been sufficient to send a written question by a MEP or a petition to the Parliament.

We were told that the European Citizens Initiatives would allow one million citizens to participate directly in the development of EU policies, but the current events, as with the previous other ECIs, show that citizens participation provided by the Treaties is pure illusion. This is why in the next few weeks, we’ll lodge a complaint to the European Ombudsman denouncing  the violation of the citizens’ right to be heard and given full informed, respectful answers to their questions. We will also involve  the  European Parliament in the defense of democratic debate between citizens and institutions as a fundamental value of civil and political coexistence.

And yet, despite the huge amount of obstacles we have been faced with, STOP VIVISECTION has achieved some fundamental results:

* more than one million.2 EU citizens who signed the ECI have now been made aware that there is an important scientific dimension to this debate besides the animal welfare concerns;

* the public hearing at the EU parliament also allowed MEPs to get more informed about the implications for our health and future of animal testing.

The organisers of STOP VIVISECTION deem it necessary that the public opinion participate in the debate about the nature, the scope, the implementation and the revision of Directive 2010/63/EU, that is due to come under official review in 2017. In the months and years to come STOP VIVISECTION, citizens and NGOs supporting it won’t be neutral observers.

Our gratitute to all those who have supported Stop Vivisection so far, and our gratitude to all those who will be by our side.


Fabrizia Pratesi : 0039-335-8444949

Andre Menache : 0044-7906-446889