Council of Europe

The Council of Europe (CoE) was set up to maintain and develop the ideals of individual freedom, rule of law and democratic principles throughout greater unity. The CoE is an intergovernmental consultative organization with a current membership of 47 countries representing over 800 million people.

In 1986, the CoE issued the “European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals Used for Experimental and other Scientific Purposes (ETS 123, 1986)''. As from 15 July 2007, this appendix is to be replaced by the revised Appendix A as adopted by the fourth Multilateral Consultation of Parties to the Convention. The Housing Guidelines of the Council of Europe can be found in this Appendix A of the convention.

The following articles pertain to the implementation of humane endpoints.

European Convention for the Protection of Vertebrate Animals used for Experimental and other Scientific Purposes

Article 5


3. The well being and state of health of animals shall be observed sufficiently closely and frequently to prevent pain or avoidable suffering, distress or lasting harm.
4. Each Party shall determine arrangements to ensure that any defect or suffering discovered is corrected as quickly as possible.

Article 7

When a procedure has to be performed, the choice of species shall be carefully considered and, where required, be explained to the responsible authority; in a choice between procedures, those should be selected which use the minimum number of animals, cause the least pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm and which are most likely to provide satisfactory results.

Article 9

1. Where it is planned to subject an animal to a procedure in which it will or may experience severe pain which is likely to endure, that procedure must be specifically declared and justified to, or specifically authorised by, the responsible authority.


Article 11

1. At the end of the procedure it shall be decided whether the animal shall be kept alive or killed by a humane method. An animal shall not be kept alive if, even though it has been restored to normal health in all other respects, it is likely to remain in lasting pain or distress.

2. The decision referred to in paragraph 1 of this article shall be taken by a competent person, in particular a veterinarian, or the person who, in accordance with Article 13, is responsible for, or has performed, the procedure.

3. Where, at the end of the procedure:

a) an animal is to be kept alive, it shall receive the care appropriate to its state of health, be placed under the supervision of a veterinarian or other competent person and kept under condi¬tions conforming to the requirements of Article 5. The conditions laid down in this sub paragraph may, however, be waived where, in the opinion of a veterinarian, the animal would not suffer as a consequence of such exemption;
b) an animal is not to be kept alive or cannot benefit from the provisions of Article 5 for its well being, it shall be killed by a humane method as soon as possible.