The Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research has criticised members of the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) Committee for their views on lab animal welfare proposals.
The Committee voted on proposals to update EU Directive 86/609 on animal experiments and rejected virtually every measure aimed at improving welfare despite opposition from other MEPs.
MEPs failed to support proposals that would restrict the number of times an animal can be re-used in multiple experiments, or set limits on the levels of pain they can endure.
However, the AGRI Committee did support the creation of new EU and member state facilities to develop more alternatives to animal experiments.
Current European efforts to develop non-animal alternatives are too narrowly focused to impact on the majority of research areas where animals are used.
While much progress has been made in finding alternatives to animals in regulatory toxicity testing, most animals in EU laboratories are used in basic medical research where far less effort has been focused.
MEPs have supported proposals that would see increased funding and coordination to bridge this gap in non-animal replacement research.
The European Commission's proposal for a revised Directive was published in November last year, containing many balanced and progressive measures such as a ban on the use of great apes, a phase-out of use of offspring from wild-caught primates, compulsory ethical review, and widening the law's scope to cover sentient invertebrates, foetal animals and animals used in basic medical research.
The Dr Hadwen Trust funds a medical research programme at British universities to develop new non-animal techniques such as 3D models of disease, advanced human brain imaging equipment and computer modelling.
The charity is leading the campaign for an EU-wide strategy to vastly increase investment in new non-animal replacement methods through the new EU legislation.