Ban on Experimenting on Stray and Feral Animals
The Animal Protection Act prescribes that as an exception, for manufacturing biological remedies, feral animals from nature can be used, after receiving a decision from the competent authority (Article 22, paragraphs 2 and 3), whilst the law does not contain a provision that refers to experiments on primates and stray animals. Considering the fact that Croatia currently doesn't have legal provisions that regulate conducting experiments on primates and stray animals, as well as feral animals (except for the manufacture of biological remedies), it is essential that the law clearly prohibit conducting experiments on stray and feral animals of domestic species, pursuant to article 11, Directive 63/2010/EU.
In the Directive 63/2010/EU, which member states of the European Union should implement into their national legislation, it says:
- "Since the background of stray and feral animals of domestic species is not known, and since capture and placement into establishments increases distress for such animals, they should not, as a general rule, be used in procedures."
- "Article 11.
Stray and feral animals of domestic species
1. Stray and feral animals of domestic species should not be used in procedures.
2. The competent authorities may only grant exemptions from paragraph 1 subject to the following conditions:
a) there is an essential need for studies concerning the health and welfare of the animals or serious threats to the environment or to human or animal health; and
(b) there is scientific justification to the effect that the purpose of the procedure can be achieved only by the use of a stray or a feral animal."
Directive 63/2010/EU in its essence does not allow conducting experiments on stray and feral animals, except in strictly defined exceptions. That's why it is important to ban this practice using the Animal Protection Act, so that non-existent or insufficiently precise provisions wouldn't be subject to double meaning and misuse.
As an organization that is concerned with animal rights, we continually receive information about the black market for stray animals, which under the cover of rehoming abroad, are being re-sold to experiment labs. Such market is impossible to control, and many legal provisions are being broken, including the ones referring to animal welfare, which is why it is ethically and legally unacceptable to use stray animals in experiments, and equally ethical problems are connected to conducting experiments on feral animals.
In Article 13 of the Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union, it states that the animals are sentient beings, which is why the Union and the Member States "shall pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals." In the Directive 63/2010/EU it also says that "animals have an intrinsic value which must be respected. There are also the ethical concerns of the general public in regards to the use of animals in procedures. Therefore, animals should always be treated as sentient creatures."
Allowing stray animals to be used in experiments would breach other provisions of the law, and therefore the goal of stray animal shelters as well. Conducting experiments on stray animals leaves room for manipulation, especially in Croatia where the situation regarding animal care is still not in order.
Furthermore, it is extremely important to emphasise that Article 2 of the Directive 63/2010/EU, which refers to stricter national measures, prescribes that "Member States may, while observing the general rules laid down in the TFEU, maintain provisions in force on 9 November 2010, aimed at ensuring more extensive protection of animals falling within the scope of this Directive than those contained in this Directive. Before 1 January 2013 Member States shall inform the Commission about such national provisions. The Commission shall bring them to the attention of other Member States." In the Directive it also says that "Attitudes towards animals also depend on national perceptions, and there is a demand in certain Member States to maintain more extensive animal-welfare rules than those agreed upon at the level of the Union. In the interests of the animals, and provided it does not affect the functioning of the internal market, it is appropriate to allow the Member States certain flexibility to maintain national rules aimed at more extensive protection of animals in so far as they are compatible with the TFEU."
In Europe there are about 120 million stray animals that through such provision become easy pray for animal testing. In 2010 in experiments in British labs 3,727 dogs and 152 cats were used who were raised for scientific experiments, and such experiments were also conducted on 10,138 rabbits. Allowing the experiments on stray animals under certain circumstances through the Directive 63/2010/EU shocked not only animal welfare organizations and citizens but also Members of the Parliament. Many Members of the Parliament consider such practice "disgusting, barbaric and unjustified under any conditions" and invite the government to suspend any deliberation of such practices and at the same time to let the scientific community know that it intends to move quickly towards the complete ban on experimenting on animals in the UK. Liberal democrat Adrian Sanders, who is against this provision, considers it a backward move when it comes to the current protection of stray animals from being used in experiments: "Losing a pet is distressing, but the idea that the animal could potentially end up in a laboratory is ghastly and unacceptable."
Considering the necessity for the Animal Protection Act to protect the interest of animals and their right to have a life without suffering and pain, it is essential to ensure maximum protection of the animal welfare by law and explicitly ban experiments on stray and feral animals.
The proposal from Animal Friends for this change to the Animal Protection Act is from the year 2012.