Animal welfarists are 'disappointed' with the Animals in Science Regulation Unit's latest annual report, which says no changes to UK animal welfare legislation will be necessary after Brexit.
Campaigners from Cruelty Free International called it 'a sadly overlooked opportunity for the UK Government to improve animal protection post-Brexit and demonstrate a commitment to ending animal testing for good'.
The report says animal testing will continue in the UK after it leaves the European Union.
Despite the availability of faster, cheaper and more reliable alternatives, and increased public demand for more humane methods, the UK is still Europe's biggest user of animals in laboratories.
Baroness Williams of Trafford wrote the Ministerial Foreword to the report, saying: "The Government is committed to strengthening the UK’s world-leading science and research base as we leave the EU and look to the future as Global Britain.
"This means ensuring the UK remains one of the best places in the world for science and innovation and the go-to place for researchers, innovators and investors in technology...We are confident that our legislation, the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, which incorporates the transposed Directive 2010/63/EU, gives us the strongest possible starting point.
"We know that this legislation sets high standards for animal welfare in science, whilst ensuring continued opportunities for UK science to access world markets. I am committed to maintaining our rigorous and robust regulation of the use of animals in science. Replacement, reduction and refinement the 3Rs must remain at the heart of the UK regulatory system, which provides assurance to the public, whilst supporting the delivery of world class science in the UK."
But Michelle Thew, CEO of Cruelty Free International, said: "Brexit has presented a real opportunity to demonstrate to the world that the UK is committed to making a real impact for animals by significantly reducing the amount of suffering in laboratories.
"Instead of preserving the status quo, the Government should use this as a springboard to step up efforts to stop unnecessary animal experiments.
"The UK needs to step up and become world leaders in the development of cutting-edge alternatives to end this outdated practice for good."
Maria is the head of written content for Plant Based News. Also a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer. Her writing has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaChiorando and Instagram @mariachiorando.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
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