The European elections in Britain

19/05/2014

The BUAV presented a series of proposals to the British parties for action to be taken on animal experiments: we feel these are the minimum that animal-friendly parties should be considering. This was part of a wider campaign carried out in other countries across Europe in conjunction with our partners in the ECEAE (European Coalition to End Animal Experiments) We are pleased to be able to report commitments from several parties, and are also taking the opportunity to note a number of MEPs who have been especially helpful to animals over the last Parliament. Many more MEPs were supportive, but the ones mentioned below went out of their way to help.

1. End animal experiments for household product ingredients throughout Europe – this follows the implementation of a ban on the testing and importing of animal-tested cosmetics in 2013. This offers a clear precedent for the European Commission to follow in banning the use of animals to test household products.  

2. Increase investment in replacement – the ECEAE is calling for 80 million Euros a year to be ring-fenced and put towards the development of non-animal alternatives. This is a small proportion of the total EU science budget but could play a part in beginning to end the use of animals in experiments.

3. Set a deadline to end the “severe” testing category – European Directive 2010/63/EU outlines the tests in this category which include forcing an animal to run until he/she becomes exhausted and using repeated electric shock treatment to induce a state of ‘learned helplessness’.

4. Set a target to reduce the number of animals tested – the latest EU statistics, published at the end of 2013, showed that just under 11.5 million animals were used in 2011. Although this is a slight reduction on the previous figure, we are calling for much more progress to be made when the statistics for 2014 are published.

In alphabetical order:

The Animal Welfare Party supports all four proposals and have a range of other animal-friendly policies. They are only standing in London.

The Conservative Party declined to comment in general, but the four proposals were endorsed at a personal level by Julie Girling MEP, who is the Conservative spokesperson on animal welfare and leads their list in the Southwest region. 

The Green Party agreed to support all four proposals and indeed would support a total ban on animal testing. Keith Taylor (South region) and Jean Lambert (London region) have been among the MEPs who were particularly helpful to animals in the last Parliament.

The Labour Party agreed to support proposals one, three and four but decided not to commit to proposal two because they are not agreeing new EU spending proposals. Brian Simpson MEP (Northwest region) and Peter Skinner (South region) have been among the MEPs who were particularly helpful to animals in the last Parliament.

The Liberal Democrats have taken a policy decision not to make any commitments at all in this election, though Chris Davies in the NW region is among the MEPs who has been particularly helpful in the last Parliament.

Plaid Cymru and the SNP have not commented.

UKIP declined to comment on our specific requests. 

In this election, you choose a party list in your region. In the smaller regions especially, not all parties are likely to win seats.

The BUAV is non-partisan and makes no recommendations, but we ask you to consider the commitments shown here, the past helpfulness of particular MEPs and the probability of winning seats as you decide how to vote, so that the British delegation to the European Parliament is as pro-animal as possible. If you decide to support one of the parties who have made commitments, please contact your local lead candidate for that party so they know it helped sway your position!