EU tells Ireland to update animal-cruelty laws


Ireland was told today to update its legislation controlling cruelty to laboratory animals or face European Union fines.

"I urge Ireland to take urgent steps to bring its current 19th century legislation into line with EU rules on animal experiments," said Environment Commissioner Ms Margo Wallstroem.

The European Commission said Ireland had failed to act on an order from the EU's high court last year demanding it apply EU rules on the housing of laboratory animals, monitoring of animals' conditions and measures to prevent undue suffering.

Ireland continues to apply legislation dating back to 1876 and it fails to apply fines high enough to deter abusive animal experiments, the EU said.

Under EU rules, Ireland now has two months to reply to the EU's formal letter of warning. Failure to comply would mean a second warning letter, after which the Commission could ask the European Court of Justice to fine Ireland.