One step forward, one step back…..?

Posted on the 27th August 2021

There have been several, rather confusing developments in the world of animal experiments recently!

In late July, we were told that ‘Animal testing could be phased out with scientists told to carry out experiments on lab-grown organs instead’ according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph. The article explained how the Home Secretary is ‘launching a review to task officials to find ways to end the use of animals in the development of medicines’.

The move was apparently prompted by Priti Patel’s reaction to recent footage of beagle puppies, bred for use in experiments, being manhandled into crates to be sent to laboratories for use in experiments.

Whilst any step to end the use of animals in experiments is welcomed, Animal Aid would urge a timetabled and targeted reduction of animals being experimented upon down to zero, as soon as possible. It is acknowledged that sometimes animals and humans happen to react similarly to a drug or other treatment, but to be of value a research method must produce reliably predictive results, and there are many reasons why animal experiments don’t fulfil this role.

Find out why animal experiments are unreliable

Following this announcement, there was great consternation and concern about a letter which was sent to Cruelty Free International, and reported on in the Guardian. The article said that the letter stated that the government would align itself with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) who had decided that some ingredients, used exclusively in cosmetics, needed to be tested on animals for safety reasons, despite the EU ban on such tests.

In the letter, the Home Office stated it would ‘publicly clarify its position now with the formal publication of an updated policy and regulatory guidance’.

To test cosmetic ingredients on animals would be a backwards step and a wasted opportunity for the UK to become a world leader in non-animal methods to replace animal experiments. We should be moving away from all animal experiments, for any reason, immediately. To apply the brakes to any progress, or even worse, to reverse this process is unforgiveable.

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