The BUAV, the leading organisation campaigning to end animal experiments, has today welcomed the decision by the UK Government to introduce a legislative ban on the use of stray animals, such as cats and dogs, in experiments. The news comes as draft regulations were published today by the Home Office, to transfer EU regulations into UK law.
After a public consultation last year, it appeared that a current policy ban on using stray animals would be withdrawn. The BUAV launched a vigorous campaign to maintain the ban which was widely supported by the public and MPs. The draft regulations now state that project licences must include “a condition to the effect that a stray animal of a domestic species must not be subjected to a regulated procedure as part of the specified programme of work”.
The new regulations, which will update the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, have been published in draft prior to limited Parliamentary scrutiny in the autumn. While the prohibition on the use of strays and Great Apes is to be welcomed, many important issues have been omitted from the draft regulations. For example:
There will be no opportunity for the majority of MPs to debate the new rules, after it was decided that they will instead be examined by a committee, before going to the House of Lords, when Parliament resumes in the autumn. The European Commission requires that they come into force by January 1 next year.
The BUAV Chief Executive Michelle Thew said, “We welcome the Government’s decision to introduce a legislative ban on the use of stray animals in experiments. This was an issue raised by the BUAV and one which received strong public and political concern. Elsewhere in the regulations, although pleased that the Government has maintained stricter UK standards in some areas, we are disappointed these regulations come only a week after figures showed the number of animals being used in experiments reaching an all-time high since the 1986 Act was introduced. These are issues which the public care deeply about, and all MPs should have the chance to give their views in a debate in the House of Commons.”