Lobbying for UK lab animal laws
After an arduous 18 months of intensive campaigning and behind-the-scenes lobbying it looks like we can now say, with cautious optimism, that UK lab animal laws will not be eroded.
Last month, the Home Office published a formal response to its public consultation on how the UK should implement the requirements of the new European Directive on animal experiments – which in some cases are less stringent than those we already have in place in the UK.
Still much to be done for animals used in research
We welcome the fact that the government has listened and taken account of the serious concerns voiced by the RSPCA and a large section of the public regarding any possibility of our controls being weakened.
Many people would rightly have been appalled if the government had allowed any of those involved in research and testing to reduce their own provisions for laboratory animals.
However, for the most part we are still just talking about the UK simply ‘maintaining’ the standards that we already have. And crucially, the exact way in which the new law will actually work in practice also still needs to be ironed out as the really important ‘Guidance’ notes to accompany the new legislation are yet to be finalised.
Despite this apparent good news there is much more work to be done if faster progress is to be made with reducing animal use and suffering – and we look forward to now being able to return our focus and efforts towards these goals.
Because recently it has felt like we’ve been running very hard just to stand still.
A note on using ‘stray animals’ in research
A number of concerned people have recently come to us after reading suggestions elsewhere that the new UK law will allow the use of stray animals for research. Confusion seems to have been caused because the wording of the EU law is different to that in the current UK text.
However, we have looked into this very carefully and believe there will not, in fact, be any change to the current situation in the UK – and that the intention of the Home Office remains NOT to allow the use of any stray animals.
- Barney Reed, senior scientific officer