Animal Experiments | April 2019

I have received numerous emails regarding animal experiments.

The United Kingdom has a long track record of being a world leader when it comes to animal welfare. In 1998, the UK was the first country to implement a ban on the use of animals in cosmetic testing and we have continued to share our knowledge and expertise in this area. In 2015, the Government implemented a similar ban on the testing of finished household products on animals, as well as a qualified ban on ingredients. As such, it is clear that successive UK Governments continue to make progress in this area with regards to the tightening of animal welfare regulations and the sharing of British expertise in how to maximise animal welfare in other countries. The UK has been instrumental in advising the Chinese government in finding alternative procedures in order to carry out cosmetic testing.
However, while the UK continues to remain a world leader in terms of animal welfare, the Government also recognises that in some particular instances, animals may be necessary in the promotion of scientific research and can build on our understanding of how biological systems work. As such, it is sometimes necessary that animals are used in scientific experiments. However, it should be stressed that animals are not used lightly in such particular instances and the Government maintains a strict regulatory system under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Such a regulatory procedure is designed to ensure that animal research and testing is carried out only when there are no practical alternatives available. Equally, there are a number of strict controls which ensure that suffering by the animals being experimented on is kept to a minimum.
As previously stated, the United Kingdom has played a leading role in supporting the development and adoption of scientific techniques that are designed to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in experiments. It should be stressed that in every scientific research proposal that requires the use of animals in experiments is heavily scrutinised. This is done to ensure that wherever possible, animals are replaced with non-animal alternatives and in instances where animals have to be experimented on, the number of animals involved in such experiments are strictly regulated. Equally, scientific procedures that use animals are refined as much as possible to ensure that any suffering that may be experienced by them is kept to a minimum.
The United Kingdom has a proven track record of upholding the highest standards of animal welfare. Animal testing can only be undertaken after approval from the Home Office and must follow strict regulations set out in the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act. It is also the policy of this Government to build upon the work of previous administrations to ensure that animal welfare continues to be improved.

April 2019

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