Britain Fails To End Animal Testing

(ANIMAL WELFARE/ANIMAL TESTING) The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) issued a response to the British government’s new stance on animal testing and they believe the government is not going far enough in limiting animal testing.

Last week, the government issued a document, Working To Reduce the Use of Animals in Scientific Research, but the BUAV claims it lacks any clear plan or specific details on how to reduce animal testing. They believe the British government has failed on its promise from 2010 to seriously take on animal testing. Read below for more on the BUAV’s response to the document. — Global Animal

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The BUAV believes the British government should take stronger measures against animal testing. Photo Credit: China Photos/Getty Images

The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV)

The BUAV has responded with disappointment to the announcement made today by the Home Office Minister, on the Government’s strategy to reduce the numbers of animals used in experiments.

In its Programme for Government (May 2010), the Coalition Government pledged to “end the testing of household products on animals and work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research.”

The BUAV’s CEO, Michelle Thew, said:

This is a whitewash and shows that the Government has in reality given up on what it promised to do and that is to reduce the number of animal experiments. This broken promise is a missed opportunity for the Government to make meaningful and lasting change for the millions of animals that are suffering in UK laboratories.”

The document which has been published this morning, Working to reduce the use of animals in scientific research contains no specific details of how a reduction will be achieved.

Guinea pigs photographed in a UK animal research establishment in November 2007. Photo Credit:

Guinea pigs photographed in a UK animal research establishment in November 2007. Photo Credit:

The last point in the Delivery Plan is “promoting an understanding and awareness about the use of animals where no alternatives exist” which brings into question whether this document is a serious attempt at reduction or an effort to justify the failure of the past three years.

The Government has been talking about bringing about the promised reduction through the National Centre for the 3Rs for more than three years, without any decrease in animal experiment numbers. If this document is the basis for a future reduction, then it is difficult to see any outcome except more animals needlessly suffering in British laboratories.

The BUAV is extremely disappointed that stronger measures have not been introduced to reduce the numbers of animals used in experiments.  The number of experiments carried out now stands at the highest level since the current regime was introduced in 1986. In the three year period, since the Programme for Government, the numbers have continued to rise, with a peak of over four million animals used in 2012.

In 2012, the BUAV set out a roadmap for reduction with a set of clear proposals suggested to the Government which would ensure a significant drop in the use of animals in experiments.  The BUAV’s proposals include a ban on the use of cats and dogs in research and an end to the use of animals for all non-medical testing.

A recent IPSOS MORI Poll in October 2013 revealed the public unease regarding animal testing. It found that members of the public supported the use of CCTV in laboratories and called for far more inspectors, than the current 20, to deal with over four million experiments.

The conclusions of the recently published Brown Report (set up following the BUAV investigation at Imperial College London, one of the world’s leading universities) that Imperial College “…lacks adequate leadership, management, operational, training, supervisory and ethical review systems to support high standards in animal use and welfare” does little to reassure the public.

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