Campaign: The Government is failing on its pledge to reduce animal experiments. Join our campaign calling for the Government to keep its promise.
The Government is failing on its pledge to work to reduce the use of animals in research. This is an issue where there is strong public concern yet the latest statistics show that animal experiments in the UK are at an all-time high since 1986 (the introduction of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act in Great Britain). Successive governments have failed animals in laboratories. Join the BUAV’s call to the Coalition Government to honour its pledge and reduce the number of animals suffering in cruel tests in the UK.
When the Coalition Government took office in 2010 it’s Programme for Government included the pledge to “work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research.” This was included after strong lobbying from the BUAV, and we have been leading the way in holding the Government to account ever since.
However, the latest statistics from the Home Office show that despite this pledge the number of animals being used in experiments is now more than 3.7 million, the highest figure for 25 years. Thousands of dogs, non-human primates, rabbits and other animals continue to suffer in laboratories around Great Britain every day.
Yet the Government’s recently published Mid-Term review seemed to suggest the reduction pledge has been shelved. Although the Government has stated the work continues, the Home Office, which is in charge of regulating animal experiments in Great Britain, has described the pledge as ‘ambitious’, which in this case we hope is not political-speak for ‘unachievable.’
There is clearly a will to make progress on this issue. A recent Government-funded survey found that public backing for animal experiments has fallen and over 200 MPs from all parties have shown support for a reduction in animal experiments by signing a BUAV-backed Early Day Motion. Sadly however, it appears that the Government remains unmoved to both public and political concerns. The BUAV urges the Government to listen to the UK public and keep its promise to reduce animal experiments.
The BUAV has set out a roadmap for reduction with five clear proposals to the Government which would ensure a significant drop in the use of animals in experiments. This was launched at our Parliamentary Reception in November 2012:
1. Non-medical experiments: Setting a detailed timetable for ending all non-medical experiments
Only 13% of experiments carried out in 2011 had a direct link to human health. Ending non-medical testing would have a significant impact on bringing down the number of animal experiments.
2. Non-human primates: Banning the import of non-human primates into the UK for research purposes
The majority of non-human primates used in UK laboratories are imported from outside the EU. The BUAV has uncovered details of shocking treatment at overseas centres which supply the UK.
3. GM animals: An immediate moratorium on experiments involving genetically modified animals
Over half of the animals used in 2011 had been genetically altered, with many being killed for not showing the desired characteristics.
4. Severe suffering: Banning the most severe experiments
Animals can presently be subjected to especially severe experiments that could involve repeated electric shock treatment to induce a state of ‘learned helplessness’ and being forced to exercise until they suffer from exhaustion. The UK Government has the option of banning such experiments under the European Directive 2010/63/EU (which governs what can be done to animals in laboratories). So far it has failed to take action on this.
5. Freedom of Information: Abolish Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986
Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 currently bans any details of experiments being made public. Removing this barrier would enable greater transparency and allow public debate on animal experiments. This in turn could lead to progress in reducing animal experiments. For example, it could reduce the duplication of experiments.
What the BUAV is doing
The BUAV is calling for the Government to keep its promise to the UK public and reduce animal experiments. We have been holding the Government to account ever since the pledge was made in 2010, including:
Over the coming months we will be increasing the pressure on the Government to turn its broken promise into action to make a difference for the millions of animals in UK laboratories.
What you can do
Please join our call on the government to keep its promise and reduce animal experiments: