The draft regulations which will bring the new animal testing EU Directive 2010/63/EU into UK law completed passage through the House of Commons yesterday. The Draft Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 Amendment Regulations 2012 were unanimously agreed by a committee of MPs after a short debate. Earlier, the Government had refused to hold a full debate on the floor of the Commons, though the Lords will be allowed to have this.
A number of the BUAV’s concerns were raised by MPs including the failure of the Government to rule out the use of the most extreme experiments envisaged by the Directive. Responding for the Government, Home Office Minister Mark Harper MP said that there would be no change to the current regime or the highest acceptable thresholds with regards to severity.
MPs also asked about the continued stalling on bringing transparency to the current animal experiments regime. Mr Harper said that the Government continued to examine the options for introducing transparency, and proposals would be brought forward in the New Year. This comes despite a broad consensus in response to the Governments consultation earlier this year that Section 24, which enables most details of animal experiments to remain secret, should be repealed.
There was confirmation that a full ban on the use of stray animals will be introduced as part of the new regulations. This follows a successful campaign by the BUAV earlier this year, which attracted the support of over 100 MPs.
The draft regulations will now discussed on the floor of the House of Lords next week. Unless amendments are made at the final stage, it is expected that Home Office Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach will sign the regulations into law in the last week prior to the Parliamentary Christmas recess. The BUAV remains critical of the Government’s failure to use this opportunity to give further commitments to ease the plight of animals in laboratories, and will be pressing for full transparency in the coming debate on Section 24.