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House of Lords considers new animal testing law

14/12/2012

The House of Lords has debated the draft regulations which will bring the new animal testing EU Directive 2010/63/EU into UK law.  A committee of MPs has already examined the Draft Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 Amendment Regulations 2012 after the Government had refused to hold a full debate on the floor of the Commons.

During the debate, Lord Wills pressed the Government on one of the BUAV’s key concerns, namely the lack of transparency in the animal experiment system at present. Minister Lord Taylor, who also has transparency in his ministerial portfolio, said that although he is in favour of transparency in this area he is “also in favour of controls”. He reiterated that there would be a continued review of Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 which enables details of animal experiments to remain secret. An announcement from the Government is expected in the New Year.

Labour spokesman Baroness Smith of Basildon urged the Minister to ensure that the guidance and Codes of Practise accompanying the regulations were not delayed, especially as some provisions come into force from 1 January 2013. She also raised another of the BUAV concerns, the number of animals being used in experiments, which reached a 25-year high in 2011 despite a pledge in the Coalition Agreement to work to reduce the number.

Home Office Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach will sign the regulations into law in the House of Lords next week, and the provisions in the regulations will begin to come into force from 1 January 2013 and the provisions will be fully enforced by the end of 2103.

The BUAV remains critical of the Government’s failure to use this opportunity to give further commitments to ease the plight of animals in laboratories, and will be pressing for full transparency in the coming debate on Section 24.

Please ask your MP to sign EDM 716 that calls for transparency in animal experiments.