As 2014 begins, the minds of politicians are beginning to turn towards the European Parliament election in May and the UK General Election in 2015. Despite attention drifting elsewhere, the BUAV policy team is continuing to work with politicians from all parties as we seek change for animals in laboratories.
At the end of last year we saw the publication, through a Parliamentary Question, of the annual statistics for animal experiments in Scotland. The statistics revealed a jump in the number of genetically modified animals being used in experiments, despite an overall decrease in numbers. We have also seen statistics published for Wales, which saw numbers increase by more than 50% including a massive jump in the use of fish. We are currently working with MPs to establish the reason for this huge increase. Statistics for Northern Ireland are due to be published shortly.
In November we once again successfully fought proposals to develop a facility to breed beagles for experiments in Yorkshire. Similar plans were dismissed by the local council, the planning inspectorate and the Secretary of State for Communities in 2012. The decision by the East Riding Council Planning Committee comes after the BUAV submitted expert legal advice, our petition received almost 40,000 signatures and our Director of Policy and Head of Campaigns visited the area to talk to residents about the plans. The close 5-4 decision shows how important it was to maximise the effort – thank you for all your help in getting that crucial vote!
Back in Westminster, support continues to grow for our other two campaigns - Our Best Friends and Clean Up Cruelty. We have worked with MPs to table Early Day Motions on the use of cats and dogs in experiments and the Government’s failure to implement the promised ban on the testing of household products and ingredients on animals. Both these EDMs have attracted support from all parties. Watch this space over coming months to hear how we are progressing.
The report from the Home Office into the poor practice and animal suffering discovered by the BUAV investigation at Imperial College London is still awaited, and now long overdue. We had expected the report to be published in July, but a Parliamentary Question recently revealed that the report has not yet been concluded. We are urging the Home Office to release its report as a matter of priority.