Animal Aid

Research lobby urges government to slash protection for animals in laboratories

Posted 28 October 2011

A coalition of powerful backers of animal experimentation is pressing the government to take steps that would fundamentally weaken even the current limited protection animals in laboratories receive. The coalition is also trying to marginalise the oversight and enforcement function of the Home Office.

The new European Directive governing animal research across the EU, which is now being transposed into UK law, was the subject of a recent Home Office consultation. Among the contributors was the UK Bioscience Sector Coalition, representing powerful bodies such as the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust. It is clear from its submission that the animal research industry intends to use its considerable influence to press for substantially less regulation of its activities.

The alarming proposals it wants the government to implement include:

  • A laxer licensing regime, which minimises the amount of details researchers have to provide, allows them to change the nature of procedures as they go along, and permits them to audit their own experiments
  • Scrapping the bans on the use of great apes and stray cats and dogs, and continuing to allow the use of wild-caught primates as ‘breeding stock’
  • Lowering standards of care and accommodation unless concrete evidence is provided that such a move would harm animals
  • Restricting public information about animal experiments

Says Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler:

‘Anyone concerned about the treatment meted out to animals in laboratories should be seriously alarmed by the coming together of the UK’s most powerful pro-vivisection interests in order to strip away the limited protection such animals currently receive. Plans advanced to the government by bodies including the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and the Medical Research Council are deeply troubling because of their severely deregulatory nature as well as the “backdoor” manner in which they seek to have them implemented. The goal seems to be to marginalise the oversight and enforcement function of the Home Office itself.’

Notes to Editors

  • Animal Aid’s full critique of the Coalition’s submission can be viewed here.
  • Animal Aid’s own submission to the Home Office consultation can be viewed here.

More information

  • Contact Andrew Tyler: 01732 364546. Out of hours: 07918 083774.
  • We have an ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.

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