EU zebrafish proposal challenge



A successful collaboration between EARA member the European Zebrafish Society (EZS) and EARA has prevented a dramatic increase in EU regulations for the animal’s use in research


A ‘Though Starter’ from the EU Commission had proposed amendments to the annexes of Directive 2010/63 that would have sought to change the age at which individual zebrafish are classified as embryos rather than larvae.


The new proposal suggested that the definition of a zebrafish embryo (the point of ‘independent feeding’) should be reduced from the current 120 hours post fertilisation (hpf), down to 72hpf.


An EZS/EARA briefing to the Commission challenged the scientific assumptions in the proposal as ‘factually incorrect’ and this was accepted by the Commission. The current 120hpf guideline will therefore remain in place.


If accepted, this would have meant the inclusion of millions of currently defined zebrafish larvae into regulations governing the use of animals in research – zebrafish are the second most used vertebrate animal model in academic research behind mice.


“This has been a great example of how EARA can work with the biomedical community to ensure that compelling scientific arguments are listened to by regulators and legislators”, said EARA executive director, Kirk Leech.


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