The European Commission on Tuesday launched a new web site to track the development of new alternative animal testing methods, reported Xinhua.
The web site will enable citizens and other interested parties to track progress of the review, validation and approval of alternative test methods.
New alternative tests are subject to a process involving several stages of development, from proposal for validation to final inclusion in the European Union (EU) regulatory framework. By consulting the web site, it will be possible to check whether an alternative test exists and to know if that method is already accepted in the EU legislation.
"It is in all our interests to avoid the use of animals in testing, for both ethical and animal welfare reasons. We also need fast, reliable and cost-effective test methods which ensure the safety of products for users, to help European industry, and which satisfy regulators," said EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik.
The commission, the executive body of the EU, last week proposed legislation to strengthen the protection of animals used in scientific experiments and to minimize the number of animals being tested.
The proposal seeks to ensure that animals are used only where no other means are available. Their use must be fully justifiable and the expected benefits must outweigh the harm caused to the animals. The proposal would also ensure that animals receive suitable care and treatment such as appropriately sized cages and an environment adapted to each species.
Some 12 million animals are used in experiments throughout the EU each year, according to the commission, the executive body of the EU.